The action today in France, at the finals of the Crankworx Les 2 Alpes Slopestyle, presented by iXS, was nothing short of spectacular. This FMB World Tour Gold level event saw 15 of the best slopestyle riders in the world take to the dirt to illustrate what next level really looks like.
After bobbling his first run, Whistler local Brandon Semenuk had every spectator lining the course in Les 2 Alpes, and every person with eyes glued to the live webcast, on the edge of their seats. However, he pulled it together, and nailed the second run, in true Semenuk style.
“The first run was a ball-up and it really took the wind out of my sails,” says Semenuk. “But that crash got my blood flowing and I tried my hardest to get the tricks for the second run. I am pretty pumped I got the cork 720 to finish; there are some pretty big consequences on that last jump.”
With Semenuk as the 2012 Champion on the FMB World Tour and Brett Rheeder (CAD) as the current leader in 2013, the rivalry was simmering between the two Canadian slopestyle riders before the event even started. Unfortunately a bail from Rheeder in his second run took him out of podium contention and gave the stacked field some room to get in on the top three.
“The pressure on Brett and Brandon due to their results on the FMB tour is immense. All eyes are on them,” says Ryan Meyer, sport announcer for Crankworx Les 2 Alpes. “Their skill is extremely high and all that pressure may be causing them to miss their tricks. At the same time, that attention is making all the other riders step up their game. Like today, you see Yannick Granieri (FRA) and Martin Soderstrom (SWE) wanting to show the world Brett and Brandon aren’t the only riders in the running for the top spot on the FMB World Tour in 2013.”
Highlights from Semenuk’s run included a regular truck driver to opposite truck driver out of the Red Bull Dish, double tail whips, whip flips and the cork 720 to finish things off on the final booter. Says Brandon, “This is essentially a 14 trick course; it is hard to do 14 tricks in a row and in this competition, they need to be hard.”
Soderstrom was stoked to be on the podium and knew after his first run he was going to have to clean things up if he wanted to rise to the top. “I knew I was going to keep the triple whip on the bottom jump but I had to add some touches to get the judges to notice me,” says Soderstrom. “I decided to throw in the 360 table top and the 360 nose bonk off of the spine. The judges saw that and it paid off for me.” Soderstrom ended up with bronze behind Pilgrim.
The lasting impression from tonight’s event is, the level of riding by these athletes is off the charts. To the question, “Where do we go from here?” the answer is, “To Whistler, friends…to Whistler.”
In case you missed live webcast, you can catch a replay here.
1st Brandon SEMENUK
2st Sam PILGRIM
3rd Martin SODERSTROM
4th Yannick GRANIERI
5th Thomas GENON -