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New champs at Innsbruck Pump Track Challenge

Tegan Cruz fifth on a busy day at Cranworx

Photo by: Clint Trahan / Crankworx

It was a busy Thursday in Innsbruck, with two main Crankworx events – Dual Slalom and Pump Track – sharing the spotlight. Canadians were up for the challenge, with Bas van Steenbergen in the final and junior Tegan Cruz hitting top-five against the older, established pros.

Bensink. Photo: Clint Trahan / Crankworx

Van Steenbergen versus Bensink versus the crowd

The men’s final got off to a rocky start when, in the first round, the Innsbruck crowd was so loud that the riders couldn’t hear the start gates drop. Niels Bensink reacted. Bas van Steenbergen didn’t even have his hand on the bars. Bensink hesitated in the confusion and van Steenbergen caught, then passed to take the lead. After some confusion in the finish area, it was decided to let the result stand and sort out the win in the second round.

In run two, Bensink, a Dutch rider now living in in Canada, took the win.

“I think we’re not used to the crowd anymore after COVID! In the end, I’m glad the crowd was super wild tonight and that’s why we’re here. That’s what makes pump track fun,” said Niels Bensink. “It was hectic with a lot of stuff happening with the gate and waiting and all that, but happy to be on top at the end of the day. All the stress is gone now!”

Kialani Hines. Photo: Clint Trahan.

Hines versus Buchanan

The women’s side was a cleaner race. Kialani Hines went head-to-head with the legendary Olympian Caroline Buchanan. After two runs, it was the young U.S. racer, Hines, coming out on top after a long day of doubling up in Dual Slalom and Pump Track.

“Sometimes I think all of us don’t really know how we keep going and keep pushing even when tired. You just have to shut out the tiredness even though it’s super loud and just kind of count the laps, like it’s nice to think of it like ‘there’s only 3 more laps’ for example. Even though it’s a lot, it helps to reassure yourself it’s going to be over soon, but in a good way. I think we just push through, it’s what you gotta do. Racing in general, you shut a lot out, so when you’re tired, you just gotta pretend you’re not tired.”

The Pump Track podium at Crankworx Innsbruck. Photo: Clint Trahan / Crankworx
Pemberton’s Tegan Cruz pushed it against the elites. Photo: Clint Trahan / Crankworx

Canadians at Crankworx

Other than the Canadian final, with B.C.’s van Steenbergen going up against another Dutch import, Bensink, there were a few Canadians in action in Innsbruck.

Pemberton, B.C. junior Tegan Cruz (RockShox Trek) had  big day, pushing up to fifth riding against the elite field.

Vaea Verbeeck (Rocky Mountain), who is returning from a serious knee injury at Red Bull Formation, powered through to 16th.

Replay: Crankworx Pump Track Challenge – Innsbruck