Athlete list gets bigger and better 

Top names in Whistler for Gravity Festival freeride events

The list of athletes participating in the Joyride BikerCross, Air Downhill and Slopestyle Expression Session – featured in the Whistler Summer Gravity Festival – is a virtual who’s who of pro mountain bikers.

The list includes World Cup racers, bike video regulars, and the top Whistler locals.

Chris Winter, the media coordinator for the festival and the co-organizer of Joyride said that non-sanctioned events are becoming more and more popular.

"Way, way more prize money and more exposure," said Winter.

The Joyride event has more than $7,375 in prize money up for grabs, and the Air Downhill as $4,550. The Slopestyle Expression Session, which is invite only, has a purse of $3,075 to give away.

In addition, all of the top video production companies will be in Whistler to capture the event, as well the full assortment of mountain bike media from around the world.

Unsanctioned events are also more flexible.

"Non-sanctioned events are able to evolve with the times, stay fresh, have fun and complement what the spectators are into and what the technology can handle," Winter said.

As a local rider, Winter also likes the fact that locals will get a chance to compete against the top riders in the world.

The list of star athletes in the Joyride Bikercross includes:

Steve Peat of Great Britain is currently ranked third in the world in downhill and 15 th in the Four-Cross (4X), and can ride just about anything.

Cedric Gracia of France is ranked number one in downhill, number two in 4-Cross, and is the reigning world champion in both disciplines.

Shaums March hails from the U.S., lives in Squamish, and is one of the top freeriders in the corridor. He’s big, fast, and aggressive.

Kirt Voreis is one of the top American riders in both downhill and 4X disciplines, and does pretty well at freeride events.

Andrew Shandro is a former Canadian downhill champion and a North Shore rider. He gave up World Cup to spend more time with his family, but at the same time has cranked things up a notch, appearing in several freeride movies.

Greg Minnaar of Russia is the 2001 world downhill champion, and is currently ranked 11 th in both downhill and 4X on the World Cup circuit.

Vancouver’s Darren Berrecloth is pro freerider with a strong BMX background. He routinely cleans up in dirt jump events and was third in the Red Bull Rampage.

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