The Giant Dual Slalom had a pair of major effects on the overall Crankworx standings on Aug. 19.
On the women's side, a dominant Jill Kintner of Bellingham won her third event in as many days to seal up the Queen of Crankworx title. Perhaps a bit fittingly, she edged out Anneke Beerten of the Netherlands, the 2015 Queen, in the finals to signal a changing of the guard.
"It's good. It's been a lot of stops and many events during the week. I full-on packed it in," she said. "It couldn't have come out any better with three wins."
In addition to the $25,000 for the Queen title, Kintner had already scored $5,000 Thursday night as the overall pump track winner. Having won the event four years in a row, Kintner said the most recent triumph stands high in her memory.
"With the overall Queen of Crankworx coming down to this, this one means quite a bit," she said.
With hot and dry conditions, Kintner was challenged.
"The dirt is just so loose and dusty and you're just a bit parched. It's so short that every mistake just sort of adds up," she said. "(In) 16 or 17 seconds, there's not much room for error. I wish it was a little bit longer, a little more techy. I enjoyed it."
With Kintner often finding herself at the top of the podium at numerous Crankworx Whistler events, she singles out the dual slalom as the one that jumps out as a sign of how far she's come as a rider.
"Slalom is my favourite because I worked the hardest to get good at it. Downhill is the most challenging and pump track is just fun," she said. "They all have their special place and I try to be as good as I can be at all of them."
Beerten, who has run second to much of Kintner's dominance this year as she tries to rise in the Enduro World Series ranks, was still thrilled to make the finals against Kintner for a third consecutive year.
"I was pretty happy with second. It was pretty solid. It's been a really busy week, or last 10 days, because the enduro was so hard and intense. It was seven hours on Sunday (Aug. 14) and it took me a few days to recover from that," she said. "It's an ongoing battle. Jill is so strong. She was really focusing on that stuff (the overall) and I'm focusing more on enduro racing."
On the men's side, Tomas Slavik of the Czech Republic defeated Bernard Kerr of Great Britain in the final round to leapfrog into the overall King of Crankworx lead for good.
Slavik and Kerr entered the head-to-head matchups as the top two qualifiers and nothing changed from there.
"After the qualifying, (I realized) this dual slalom track is really short so it's all about those tiny mistakes. It was about who made those mistakes. I didn't make any mistakes. I was riding really consistent, having good gates and having good turns," Slavik said.
Slavik credited Kerr for being alongside him in the championship descent, and acknowledged it wouldn't have taken much for things to change fairly dramatically.
"It's always the guy who's with you in the final (that's toughest). There are 10 guys who can win this race and everyone is fast," he said.
The Czech rider initially was concerned with the course, but gained enough familiarity with it to knock time in parts.
"In the beginning I thought it would be way too short and there wasn't going to be any space to do a difference in the time, but in the end, I found some spots where I was speeding up," he said.
Kerr enjoyed the course, noting its design helped make for some fun racing.
"It was so intense. One lane was faster at the start. One was faster at the end, so you came back on each other and that made it a real good time to race," he said. "I thought I might get him (Slavik) if I just went for it and either crashed or tried winning, but he's just so good and he got me in the end."
Bas Van Steenbergen and Emilie Siegenthaler took the bronze medals.
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