Canada’s Brett Rheeder defended his slopestyle victory at Crankworx Rotorua on Saturday, marking his first return to the top step of a Crankworx podium since winning the same event last year.

Rheeder’s 2018 wasn’t short on victories, of course. The Ontario-raised rider won 2019 Red Bull Rampage in October, one of mountain biking’s biggest titles.

Still, after finishing behind American Nicholai Rogatkin at three straight Crankworx events in 2018, Rheeder was happy to be back on top.

“It feels really good. It feels really relieving,” said the Canadian slopestyle star. “First contest of the year, I’m always nervous of screwing up or messing up my run and not getting a good place, and then having people wondering ‘Ohh, maybe Brett doesn’t have it anymore.’ I went through a big winter filming, and then last-minute training for this. It was pretty intense work and I didn’t really have many days off. To have it pay off – it’s the best feeling ever. This, right now, is what I live for.”

Crankworx Rotorua Slopetyle 2019 Brett Rheeder
Brett Rheeder mid-flight. Image: Fraser Britton

Thomas Lemoine put down a clean run to take second. Added to his results at Dual Speed and Style and Pumptrack, the French rider moved into the early lead of the King of Crankworx competition. With his attention already spread thin across those competitions, Lemoine’s not yet certain he’ll chase that particular crown, though.

“I’m trying not to focus on that because I’m already doing three events, so I’ll take it one event at a time, do my best in each of them, and I’ll see how it goes at the end.”

Joining the two established pros on the podium was rookie talent Alex Alanko of Sweden. Rotorua marked the 23-year-old’s second ever Crankworx slopestyle event, and he was as stoked as he was surprised to make the podium.

“I’m in disbelief,” said Alanko after the podium ceremony. “It’s a good feeling, for sure.”

The three-stop Crankworx World Tour resumes June 12-16 in Innsbruck, Austria.

Crankworx Rotorua Slopetyle 2019 Brett Rheeder
Crankworx Rotorua Slopestyle in Memory of McGazza 2019 podium. Image: Fraser Britton
Results: Crankworx Rotorua Slopestyle in Memory of McGazza

1) Brett Rheeder (CANADA) –   93.75

2) Thomas Lemoine (FRA) –  87.00

3) Alex Alanko (SWE) –   80.75

4) Torquato Testa (ITA)

5) Lukas Knopf (GER)

6) Anthony Messere (CANADA)

7) Erik Fedko (GER)

8) Lucas Huppert (SUI)

9) Nicholai Rogatkin (USA)

10) Tom Isted (GBR)

11) Jakub Venci (CZE)

12) Max Fredriksson

13) Diego Cervazi (ITA)

14) Thomas Genon (BEL)

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