Coming into the post-competition press conference, French rider Thomas Genon was covered with dirt, his eyes red and irritated, his front tooth chipped. Not because of a crash, although there were plenty of those - his fellow competitors just got a little carried away at the podium celebration.
Soderstrom, who placed second, blasted Genon in the eyes with champagne while Genon struggled with his own cork. He turned away only to get blasted by American Cam McCaul who, while shaking his champagne bottle, chipped Genon's front tooth. Then Soderstrom threw some dust in his face for good measure.
It was a hazing of sorts for an incredibly talented up-and-coming rider, who had just won $25,000 and the top title in freeride mountain biking - on a hard tail no less, with over 10,000 fans lining the course.
Genon's winning run, which he landed in the semi-final, included the biggest front flip of the day and a backflip onto the cabin, capped off by a huge tailwhip to the finish. The only run that came close was Soderstrom's last, which ended with a 360 double tailwhip that came up just short. Cam McCaul made some of the biggest, laziest backflips of the day off the 60-foot kicker, finished off with a 360 off the cabin to take third.
Pretty much everybody else had a bad day, with seven out of eight athletes in the super final crashing or going out with mechanicals. Whistler's Brandon Semenuk, the reigning Red Bull Joyride champion and the the winner of the last four major slopestyle events, crashed near the top of both of his runs and didn't even make the money round. It was that kind of a night.
Genon, who doesn't speak much English, provided some of the most entertaining moments of the press conference.
"I don't know what I'm going to do here," he said, taking his seat below the Red Bull Joyride banner. "I can't speak English."
Apparently he didn't even know he was in first place, he was too busy checking out his broken rear wheel and listening to piano music when another competitor tapped him on the shoulder.
"They said, 'you just won the qualifier,' I just said 'okay.'"
Genon said he's been watching Crankworx since he took up dirt jumping since the age of 12. Although he's had solid results in Europe and at the Claymore Challenge, he wasn't expecting an invite to the Red Bull Joyride.
"I was just so happy just to be invited, it was an honour, and I'm so happy to be first."
When asked what he was going to do with the $25,000 first prize, he said wasn't going to give it to his parents. McCaul suggested he buy a car, and Genon said, "Yeah, a really shitty car. Like an EP Van."
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