Riders impress at Whip-Offs 

Lacondeguy, Brown take titles

click to enlarge PHOTO BY DAN FALLOON - HE'S THE GUY Andreu Lacondeguy kicks out all the stops during the Official Whip-Off World Championships in Crabapple Hits.
  • Photo by Dan Falloon
  • HE'S THE GUY Andreu Lacondeguy kicks out all the stops during the Official Whip-Off World Championships in Crabapple Hits.

More than five came alive.

Competition at the Official Whip-Off World Championships was so close that a top five wasn't even enough in the men's division.

With riders putting on a show at the Crabapple Hits in the Whistler Mountain Bike Park, six men ultimately finished in the money at the event.

Andreu Lacondeguy of Spain ended up nabbing the win, scoring $2,000 in the process. Two-time champion Bernardo Cruz was denied in his search for a third win but still finished as the runner-up while Ryan Howard ended up in third place.

Lacondeguy, who was third in the event last year, said a new bike and an ability to adapt to the conditions helped him make it through.

"It was a little windy, so it was hard to judge the speed," he said. "But we all made it work. No one got hurt and we had a good time and I made two grand."

The judges acknowledged it came down to the final whips to crown a champion, and Lacondeguy admitted he was glad he had enough in the tank to still impress at the end.

"The whip worked pretty good. I went a little bit faster, because I cased it on the one before. I brought it back," he said. "It was good."

Apart from the enduro race, the Whip-Offs are the only pro contest originally scheduled to begin before noon. (The Red Bull Joyride was forced into a morning start after a postponement, however.) Lacondeguy acknowledged it's not always easy to get going.

"The beginning was a little rough because it was kind of early in the morning, but I kind of got used to it," he said.

Cruz, meanwhile, had an idea going in that all riders would be tough competition, and no one disappointed. With the quality of the whips, he's content with his finish and will shoot to top it all again next year.

"I knew that it was supposed to be really hard like it was. Everybody was really going sideways," Cruz said. "I'm pumped to be in second. It's the second year I took second, so I hope to bring it back next year.

"I felt pretty good in a few runs and then in other ones, not so good."

He's also impressed to see the contest expanding every year with new people coming to try it out.

"It was pretty cool. They did pretty good," he said of the general field. "It's nice for the event, how it's getting bigger every year."

On the women's side, Casey Brown won for the third consecutive year, taking $500 for edging out Lorraine Blancher and Emilie Siegenthaler.

"It's the funnest event of Crankworx for me because it's pretty much just riding with your friends and showing off for the crowd," she said. "I learned how to take my foot off (the pedal) and I learned some leg swag, so I'm pretty stoked on that. It's always good to show new things and be able to progress."

Whistler's Finn Iles was injured and did not get the chance to defend the title he won as a 14-year-old last year.


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