iXS European Downhill Cup 2017
It is only a few more days until the first race of the iXS European Downhill Cup 2017. With 350 riders from 26 different nations, the race is fully booked and the list of participants, as usual, include some of the downhill elite. Take some roots, steep slopes, and pumping arms and you have the perfect basic recipe for the kick-off. In Kranjska Gora a race track on World Cup level awaits!
Situated in the far North-west of Slovenia, Kranjska Gora first became known as a host for numerous Ski Alpine World Cups before it entered the downhill stage as the host of the European Downhill Championships.
What most participants of Kranjska Gora’s races remember of the 2000-meter track are most probably the roots – actually hundreds of them. Even now that there have been some adjustments and changes in the course, there is no possible way around them. Especially under wet and rainy weather conditions some sections of the track can become a real nightmare, even for talented and experienced riders.
At least there is some good news concerning the lift: with shorter lines and a higher transport capacity, you should be able to squeeze in some more runs during training sessions if you feel like you need some more of the Slovenian roughness before your race run!
let’s have a last look at the overall conditions: An important factor in every race is, of course, the weather. At the moment the forecast really doesn’t look too bad and the weather might be perfect to open the EDC season. Rain, however, really would make it a lot more difficult in Kranjska Gora, that’s for sure. Let’s wait and see about that.
No matter what the weather, Kranjska Gora is definitely worth a trip for both riders and visitors. It is your chance to be a part of an exciting and extremely demanding race!
It’s about time to have a look at the odds-on favorites!
The first name to be mentioned is, of course, Slawomir Lukasik (POL – NS Bikes Factory Racing), last year’s EDC champion, who will be eager to defend his title this upcoming season. Last year in Kranjska Gora, Lukasik set the best time during the seeding, but ended up in second place, while Johannes Fischbach (GER – Radon Factory Team) took the lead in the race run. This year, he won’t settle with second place, but go for the full amount of points for the rankings. Fischbach, his closest competitor, is not registered for the race, as he still suffers from the repercussions of a broken collarbone.
Another favorite, however, is European Champion 2015 Jure Zabjek (SLO – Unior Tools Team). In last year’s race he finished in fifth place and ended up in seventh place in the overall rankings and he probably will be eager to impress the Slovenian audience, even more, this time.
Also, Loris Revelli (ITA – Argentina Bike De Vinci Italy) should be mentioned among the top ten favorites after an incredible first season in the Elite category. In 2016 he reached the EDC podium twice already and back as a Junior he even won the World Cup – and his career has only just started. Also, Jacob Dickson (GBR – Giant Factory Off-Road Team) should be added to the calculations with his third place in the junior category of the UCI World Cup rankings. Stanislav Sehnal (CZE – Banshee Bikes) also reached the podium twice last year as did Miran Vauh (CRO – Blackthorn). As you can see, it is nearly impossible to deliver a reliable prognosis – but that is what makes it so exciting, right?
The Elite Women category includes 20 riders this year. Last year Veronika Widmann (ITA – FS Patrol Funn) succeeded in Kranjska Gora and later also took the title of the series. Of course, it would be best for her to just replay last year’s results, but there are some strong competitors who might have other plans…
Probably the closest competitor will once more be Carina Cappellari (SUI – NS Bikes Factory Racing). With a new team comes a lot of energy and motivation and she already made clear that she is ready to pick a fight and take the title in the European Cup in Les Deux Alpes last year. Monika Hrastnik (SLO – Blackthorn), however, also reached the podium three times in last year’s EDC and should definitely be mentioned as one of the favorites for the upcoming season as well.
Photos: extreme-pics / Thomas Dietze