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Johansson banks Triple-Triple with Crankworx Slopestyle victory

Emil Johansson continued his fairytale run on the Crankworx World Tour by winning the Crankworx Innsbruck Slopestyle event on Saturday to break Brandon Semenuk’s record for the most number of Crankworx World Tour Slopestyle golds with 12.

SUNDAY, JUNE 25: DAY FIVE

Sunday’s final Crankworx event saw Briton Bernard Kerr and Austrian Valentina Höll win to end the week on a high as, thanks to a flat-out style track, the field were encouraged to go as fast as possible with Kerr seeing off Sweden’s Oliver Zwar and Canadian Jakob Jewett to triumph.

Kerr, 32, revealed: “So happy to win a Crankworx downhill. My first one was in 2009 so it took about 15 years later to win one of these. Honestly first time was ’09 in Whistler, so I’m very happy.”

Reigning world DH champion Höll excelled on home soil with a superb 3:41.228 run that saw her cruise to victory by over nine seconds from American Anna Newkirk with Briton Phoebe Gale in third place.

Holl, 21, banked her fourth Crankworx gold medal in the process and she added: “I love competing at Crankworx. It’s a bit more chill than World Cups so I’m less nervous and it makes it a bit more fun.”

In terms of the King and Queen of Crankworx standings after the third of four stops heading into Whistler, Canadian Bas van Steenbergen leads by 37 points and Australian Caroline Buchanan by 203 points respectively.

SATURDAY, JUNE 24: DAY FOUR

After his incredible run over the last few years, Swede Johansson battled through tricky Saturday wind conditions and a superb display from Poland’s Dawid Godziek to triumph with a winning score of 97.25.

Swiss rider Lucas Huppert and Italian Torquato Testa both put down impressive runs first time out with their scores of 85 and 83.25 behind the best score of 92.50 that Johansson racked up.

Second time around, Swede Max Fredriksson (82.12) and French duo Paul Couderc (79) and Timothé Bringer (80.87) rose up the leaderboard before Godziek put down a brilliant 95.25 on the back of combos like a triple tailwhip on the first hip to then a cashroll barspin on the next jump, to a cashy whip on the final jump to overtake the mighty Johansson.

The Swede, though, is a class above in Slopestyle at the moment and he put together an historic, impeccable run of 97.25 to break Semenuk’s record and clinch the Triple Crown of Slopestyle Award for 2023.

Johansson, 24, said: “It was unreal. I felt like I nearly had a heart attack after the first run because the wind was affecting me so much. When I got halfway down the course, I could just feel the wind and I thought ‘I just gotta make it down this time, please!’. Then making it down, I was so out of breath, I’m glad that one worked out. Then sitting up top and seeing when Dawid bumped me – it’s tough knowing that you actually have to pull out the things you’ve been prepping for.”

He added: “I did an oppo 3 windshield wiper on the last one, I did an oppo 3 unturndown to regular double downwhip. I brought the switch truck to double downwhip out in Rotorua and that kind of opened up my mind to how I can flip this and make it different. It feels unreal as Semenuk for me is the GOAT. He has been a huge influence as well as multiple other riders. Definitely a surreal moment.”

Huppert, who claimed his first Crankworx podium in third, said: “The level was insane, the conditions were super tough. One of the reasons I cased the first hip and had to do a tailwhip on the second one was due to the wind. Somehow I could muster through it and make a run happen.”

In Saturday’s Pump Track event, Australia dominated the top step of the podium with Buchanan and Jayce Cunning winning with Buchanan’s excellent form seeing her carve out a final advantage of 1.040 seconds over Christa von Niederhausern. The Swiss rider ended in silver with Briton Martha Gill rounding out the women’s podium.

Cunning saw off Kiwi rider Tuhoto-Ariki Pene in the men’s gold-medal round with the reigning King of Crankworx Van Steenbergen securing the bronze medal after qualifying first in the field.

FRIDAY, JUNE 23: DAY THREE

On Friday, Frenchman Tomas Lemoine and Robin Goomes came out on top in the Speed & Style to defend their crowns with Americans David Lieb and Garret Mechem also on the men’s podium and Australian Harriet Burbidge-Smith and American Shealen Reno rounding out the women’s podium over a track that featured long straightaways and two big trick jumps, favouring the stylers more than the speed racers.

THURSDAY, JUNE 22: DAY TWO

Heavy heat made for challenging, but fun conditions at the Crankworx Innsbruck Dual Slalom track on Thursday as the loose, dry course was extremely fast for the riders as it was cut up with deep ruts.

Top qualifier Gill secured her second Dual Slalom gold medal thanks to a consistent day, beating American downhiller Newkirk in the gold-medal match-up with Romanian Luana Chereches in bronze.

Gill said: “I think I was feeling pretty confident on the course. I think a lot of people were struggling with the loose conditions, but I thought that it suited me a bit more maybe. I think that played to my strengths and I was quite mentally positive throughout the whole day more or less.”

Newkirk added: “The course was good. It was super difficult with the conditions and just how dry it was but it was a lot of fun. It was tricky to figure out but it was a blast! I’m happy with how I rode, but Martha was super pinned and she absolutely deserved to win. I’m stoked for her!”

Jewett dominated throughout the men’s rounds to take home gold in the finals against Kiwi Sam Blenkinsop with fellow New Zealander George Brannigan holding on for the bronze medal.

Jewett said: “I think this course suits the downhill guys. The top four today was all downhill racers so I think it definitely suited us. I think mainly the speed of the track, we are used to just railing corners and those fast grass corners and being on the pedals a lot so it just worked out!”

Blenkinsop revealed: “We were kind of all complaining about the track at the start because the conditions were so dry, but in the end we’re all racing the same track so it’s fun and it was blown out. Probably one of the funnest tracks I’ve ridden because it was hard, not too technical.”

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 21: DAY ONE

Kiwi Vinny Armstrong got the better of compatriot Goomes and Canadian Georgia Astle in the women’s event thanks to effortless sideways whips. She said: “Insane. Craziest event ever. I can’t believe it was a thunderstorm and pouring down with rain and then it was like the best time ever because it just watered the jump and made it perfect.”

Goomes added: “It’s just the best Whip-Off jump on the circuit in my opinion. It’s really good vibes for me because it’s the first Crankworx event I came to and the first I won actually. It’s a cool memory for me.”

In the men’s event, the podium was similar to 2023 Crankworx Rotorua earlier this year with Briton Kaos Seagrave taking top spot then Edgar Briole and Kade Edwards on the second and third step respectively.

Seagrave, 23, said: “It was sick. We all didn’t know whether it was going to happen because it was stormy from 3:00 with literally thunder and lightning, but we all turned up and just had a good time. Everyone just sent it. Stoked to be on the box again with my boys.”

Frenchman Briole added: “I’m so happy about my result. The podium was so insane with Kaos and Kade. I’m so happy and the jump is so sick. Can’t wait for the next Whip-Off!”

Header image: Emil Johansson performs at Crankworx Slopestyle in Innsbruck, Austria on June 23, 2023. Credit: Bartek Wolinski / Red Bull Content Pool

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