Thomas Genon not only won the CLIF Bar dual speed and style (DS&S) event in Whistler Village on Saturday night, he played giant killer to do it.
The Belgian found the perfect mix of tricks and tenacity to eliminate DS&S overall leader Adrien Loron in the first round before knocking out No. 2 Tomas Slavik the next. Ultimately, Genon took the title over Czech rider Jakub Vencl. Canadian Tom Van Steenbergen topped his brother Bas to secure the bronze.
"I did not expect that at all," Genon said. "My seeding runs were not that great so I thought maybe the tricks will do it. But I did my best and I took every race.
The first race for me was the hardest, against Adrien Loron, a very good friend of me. I thought 'If I beat him, this is crazy.'"
Vencl, meanwhile, was just as shocked as Genon to just make it to the final.
"To be honest, it's super unexpected. I felt pretty slow in the training and I was just hoping to get in the finals," he said. "Somehow, it worked."
Van Steenbergen made a strong return to the event after two years away because of injury two years ago and a focus on Red Bull Joyride last year. The result was an improvement on his fourth-place showing in 2013.
"It worked out great so I'm pumped," he said.
Van Steenbergen made a statement against his big brother, pulling off the first 100 score in the event's history on the strength of the first double backflip.
Despite Loron being unable to earn any points to further his case on Saturday, he relied on the strength of podium finishes in the two previous DS&S events in Rotorua, New Zealand and Les Gets, France to nick Slavik for the overall title.
"It's pretty nice because I went out of the race pretty soon and I was feeling bad about it," he said. "It was pretty cool, especially because my friend won it (the race).
"I just got the fastest guy on the course today."
Crankworx action continues Saturday with the SRAM Canadian Open Enduro beginning at 7:30 a.m. The race is the sixth stop of eight on the Enduro World Series tour.
April 21, 2017, 11:30 AM
Agreement to be presented to council on Tues., April 25 More...
April 21, 2017, 9:00 AM
Three candidates talk transportation; NDP's Livaja won't attend Whistler all-candidates debate More...
April 20, 2017, 1:03 AM
MOU between RMOW, province, WB and First Nations to be presented April 25 More...