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Riders are getting ready to pump it up in Les 2 Alpes on July 4. In anticipation, the sifting, shaping and testing has begun, as course designers gear up for the second year of the Les 2 Alpes Pump Track Challenge presented by RockShox. Competitors can expect big changes and growth - the dirt laboratory is expanding by 50 per cent. For riders, it's going to call for more technical skills, more endurance and more explosive power. Another exciting change for 2014 is the debut of a separate category for the ladies ready to shred.

Come race time on July 4, many will be watching Adrien Loron (FRA). The French rider sat atop it all in 2013, winning the pump track challenges in both Whistler and Les 2 Alpes.

"My first win in Les 2 Alpes was a huge moment of happiness," says Loron. "This win has stayed in my mind as the real beginning of my pro career. I feel so touched to have written my name in Crankworx history."

Loron's been keeping relatively quiet this season, though placed a solid fifth in the MTB Pro Pump Track Final at the Sea Otter Classic in Monterey, California, this past April.

"I've worked hard all this season. It will be hard but, as always, I'm going to go for it," adds Loron of his training ahead of the 2014 competition in Les 2 Alpes. "I must ride with the same state of mind as 2013 - try to be clean on the track, be aggressive and have fun. I'm ready."

Also returning for this year, after placing second behind Loron in 2013, is Matt Walker (AUS). Walker lost to Loron by 1.07 seconds in the final to take second.

"With the new track it should be good - bigger is better, plus it'll make racing more entertaining," says Walker. "Im real excited to get out and ride it!"

Other contenders entering the fray include Martin Söderström (SWE), who was separated from Loron and the top spot on the podium by a soft patch of dirt on the second to last corner on the Whistler pump track last year and is returning to Crankworx competition after months of intense rehab after an injury sustained during the Red Bull Joyride final. Injury aside, Söderström has been making a strong showing in recent months, including a second place finish at the Festival International de Sports Extremes (FISE) World Montpellier at the end of May.

Another rider to watch will be Brendan Fairclough (UK), who fell to Walker after missing a lap in last year's quarter finals. Fairclough's seen some solid results in 2014 so far, with several top 20 finishes on the UCI World Cup circuit.

Hot on their heels for 2014 will be some new players to the French track.

"It's great to see so many more female riders competing - I can't wait to get racing," says Katy Curd (UK), who came in third in Whistler last year. "The pump track racing out in Whistler last year was awesome so I'm excited to get racing at Les 2 Alpes."

This will be the first year a separate category for women is on the books. Joining Curd will be Casey Brown (CAN), 2012's Queen of Crankworx, who showed her strength this season finishing ninth at the UCI World Cup in Fort William at the beginning of June, and Micayla Gatto, known as one of the fastest girls on the circuit, and with a second place finish on the Crankworx Whistler pump track in 2012 under her belt.

Curd's strategy to make her mark in this first year of women's pump track in Les 2 Alpes?

"Go faster!!"

Tasked with building an elite-level pump track that will help these athletes do just that are Greg Gilson, Kevin Renny, Damien Bideau and Jérémy Granieri (brother to Yannick). Riders and pump track fans can expect a loop that's bigger, longer and with more jumps, but one that retains the inimitable Crankworx spirit.

2014 marks the second year of the Les 2 Alpes Pump Track Challenge presented by RockShox. The first year in 2013 kicked off with a bang. Loron's win was considered to be one of the most exciting upsets in recent Crankworx history - he then carried this momentum to Crankworx Whistler, taking top spot there as well.

Pump track supremacy requires athletes to be at the height of fitness - a background in BMX/4X with strong overall mountain bike skills are what bumps winners to the top of the podium. Explosive power is also a must for this short race, though a rider must be able to sustain their pace for the length of the course.

This crowd favourite will go down under dark skies and bright lights on the evening of July 4, 2014 in the Les 2 Alpes bike park. The live webcast will connect fans to all the action from 20:45-22:00 CEST on Crankworx.com and RedBull.com/bike.

Crankworx Les 2 Alpes Schedule of Events

July 3, 2014

Official European Whip-Off Championships

Free Concert: Heavy Duty Unplugged

Light On MTB Film Series: A Racer's Dream

July 4, 2014

GT Dual Speed & Style (LIVE WEBCAST – 14:15-17:00 CEST on Crankworx.com and RedBull.com/bike)

Les 2 Alpes Pump Track Challenge presented by RockShox (LIVE WEBCAST –20:45-22:00 CEST on www.Crankworx.com and www.RedBull.com/bike)

Light On MTB Film Series: Rad Company - featuring Brandon Semenuk

July 5, 2014

Crankworx Les 2 Alpes Slopestyle – Round 1 of the FMB World Tour DiamondSeries (LIVE WEBCAST – 17:00-19:00 CEST on www.Crankworx.com and www.RedBull.com/bike)

Free Concert: The Socks

Light On MTB Film Series: MTB Heroes & Arrival

July 6, 2014

POLYGON Air DH – iXS European Downhill Cup (LIVE WEBCAST – 14:00-17:00 CEST on www.Crankworx.com and www.RedBull.com/bike)

Check out the latest video for Crankworx Les 2 Alpes here: vimeo.com/88770649

For more information or details on how to register check out www.crankworx.com

About Crankworx Les 2 Alpes

Crankworx Les 2 Alpes will take place July 3–6, 2014 and is the only Crankworx event to take place outside of North America. This event is presented in partnership with the tourist office of Les 2 Alpes and Ayton Concept of France. Crankworx Whistler will take place August 8–17, 2014. Crankworx Whistler is presented by Whistler Blackcomb and the Whistler Mountain Bike Park.