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Crankworx Innsbruck kicks off with French Sweep of Dual Slalom and Pump Track

Morgane Charre adds Dual win to her Enduro World Series exploits in fall calendar

Loron Crankworx Innsbruck Dual Slalom Photo by: Kike Abelleira / Crankworx

Crankworx racing is back in Innsbruck, Austria, but it’s the French riders on top so far.

Two events in, Dual Slalom and Pump Track, it’s been a French rider on top every time.

Luke Meier-Smith Crankworx Innsbruck Dual Slalom
Luke Meier-Smith (right) in his first elite Crankworx Dual Slalom. Photo: Kike Abelleira / Crankworx

Innsbruck Dual Slalom brings Crankworx back to Europe

Dual Slalom is the first event in a week of Crankworx World Tour racing in Innsbruck, Austria. Riders were thrilled just to be racing at all after the long brake. Crankworx last lined up a World Tour race back in Rotorua in March.

“It’s really good to be back racing. Enjoying the mountains and riding bikes with friends,” said Adrien Loron, who took the W for the pro men in today’s Dual Slalom Innsbruck. The former King of Crankworx has plenty of gold medals in his awards case, but Thursday marks his frist Dual Slalom win. The forced break, says Loron, had some upsides.

“I’ve been racing for seven years now and travelling all around the world. So it’s been a good thing for me to spend more time with my family and have a good rest. But then it started to feel like a pain. I was dying for a race or something to happen. It’s so good to be back.”

Australia’s Luke Meier-Smith, in his first elite race, and Pivot Factory Racing’s Bernard Kerr finished second and third for the men.

“I’m super stoked,” said the 18-year-old Meier-Smith. “Last year I was on my dirt jumper and I didn’t make it past the Round of 32, so I’m super stoked on second place.”

Morgane Charre Crankworx Innsbruck Dual Slalom
Morgane Charre on her way to winning the Crankworx Innsbruck Dual Slalom. Kike Abelleira / Crankworx

On the women’s side, the win was the continuation of a streak of strong performances. Former Downhill World Champion (2012) turned EWS racer Morgane Charre finished her Enduro season on top, with the highest points total among the women after three races. Today’s gold was icing on the cake for her. 

“I’m so happy,” said Charre. “I had a lot of fun on the Slalom. It was a fun event and really good to do something different, especially to finish the season. So I’m really happy to be here and to take the win.”

Mathilde Bernard (France) and Romania’s Luana Chereches rounded out the women’s podium.

Franch sweep extends to pump track, while Bernard finds redemption

Later Thursday evening, it was time for the RockShox Pump Track challenge. Again, it was a French sweep. But this time it was Mathilde Bernard joining Loron on the podiums top step.

“I’m super happy,” said Bernard of the gold medal, her first in pump track since Crankworx Les Gets in 2018. Bernard’s next event comes up right away, in the first Austrian edition of women’s Speed & Style on Friday.

In the men’s race, it was a showdown between two friendly rivals. Chaney Guennet and Adrien Loron have lined up against each other countless times at this point.

Pump track Crankworx Innsbruck
Head-to-head, wheel-to-wheel in the Pump track challenge. Photo: Kike Abelleira / Crankworx

“He’s one of my biggest opponents,” said Loron, whose Innsbruck Pump Track wins now equal Guennet’s. “We’re used to racing against each other. It’s the first time we are three Frenchies on the podium, because Tomas is a really, really good guy too. It’s the best. We are…all three we are friends and we had so much fun tonight. It’s the cherry on the cake to take the win.”

“He rode better than me,” said Guennet. “(Riding against him) it’s like riding every race with the best guy in Pump Track, so second place, I’ll take it.”

Chaney Guennet (France), Thomas Lemoine (France) made for a full France podium in the men’s event.

Kathi Kuypers (Germany) and Paula Zibasa (Latvia) kept the French from dominating both podiums by taking second and third in the women’s event.