Loron claims first King of Crankworx 

Kintner repeats as Queen

click to enlarge PHOTO BY DAN FALLOON - Strong and Free Jill Kintner and Adrien Loron celebrate their Queen and King of Crankworx wins on Aug. 19.
  • Photo by Dan Falloon
  • Strong and Free Jill Kintner and Adrien Loron celebrate their Queen and King of Crankworx wins on Aug. 19.

France's Adrien Loron had come close to claiming the overall King of Crankworx title in each of the past two years.

In 2015, he made a charge while in Whistler but fell just 10 points short of Great Britain's Bernard Kerr, who nearly gave up his advantage. Last year, Loron entered with a narrow lead, but ended up being overtaken by Czech rider and winner Tomas Slavik, as well as Kiwi racer Sam Blenkinsop.

Once again, Loron entered the final Crankworx World Tour stop with a lead, but this year he left nothing to chance. After topping the Clif Dual Speed and Style to kick off the festival, Loron — who worked hard to improve his downhill skills in recent years — went out and won the Fox Air DH on Aug. 16. He had the chance to lock up the King title by making the final of the Ultimate Pump Track Challenge on Aug. 17, but came away with fourth after losing the small final. However, a top-eight finish in the Giant Dual Slalom on Aug. 18 was enough to secure the overall crown.

In the end, no one came close to challenging the 25-year-old, as American Mitch Ropelato used a pair of podium appearances to climb into second in the standings, but still was a full 260 points back of Loron.

While the overall men's title went down to the wire the past two years, Loron was thrilled to be home and cooled with two days left to go.

"I'm done. I did it," Loron said shortly before accepting his $25,000 cheque and his sceptre in Skier's Plaza on Aug. 19. "I'm super happy with this title, for sure."

With the crown in place, Loron planned to relax during the remainder of his time in Whistler after sending it hard in the earlier days.

"That was my plan, to do my best during the week to make it easy on the weekend and enjoy the last nights in Whistler," he said. "(I spent today) doing nothing, actually, just hanging in the shade and watching the races."

Loron also planned to cheer on the Frenchmen who were competing in Red Bull Joyride the following day.

While the glory was welcomed, the cash itself is a difference-maker, too.

"It's going to help me do some different things in the winter, probably filming some good projects," he said.

On the women's side, American Jill Kintner secured the Queen of Crankworx title for the second year in a row. In 2015, early-season injuries kept her from amassing significant points before Crankworx Whistler, while last year, she entered with a lead that was nearly insurmountable (320 points in a system where a win is worth 150 points).

This year, her advantage was still a healthy 165 points, but at nearly half the size, victory wasn't as assured coming into the final races. Like Loron, Kintner also clinched at the dual slalom — though she did it in fine fashion, with a triumph. The 35-year-old also won the Fox Air DH and took second in the pump track. In the end, Kintner placed 240 points ahead of runner-up Tracey Hannah of Australia, who won a pair of downhill races during the week.

"I'm glad it's over," she said after the dual slalom race. "Now I can relax a little bit and enjoy the village and all my friends that are here."

Though Kintner has stopped competing on the World Cup circuit and now focuses more directly on Crankworx, 2017 proved to be a harder crown to win.

"I had more adversity to overcome. I had that shoulder thing and I had a couple bobbles in pump track, which (I'm) usually pretty strong, and they took out slalom in all the other (stops), which is a good one for me. The whole process keeps evolving and it didn't go perfect like it has in the past, but I still came out on top."


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