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Vaea Verbeeck doubles up with gold in Air DH and Dual Slalom

Big start to Crankworx Whistler with Canadians sweeping women's Air DH

Photo by: Clint Trahan / Crankworx

Vaea Verbeeck kicked off her busy Crankworx Whistler campaign with a double gold. The Canadian, on a quest to defend her Queen of Crankworx title, started with a win in the Air DH. On Tuesday, she backed that up with a less expected win in Dual Slalom. Less expected only because the Rocky Mountain athlete is managing a knee injury left over from a big crash at Red Bull Formation.

Vaea Verbeeck rides Whistler's A-Line
Vaea Verbeeck in Air DH. Photo: Chris Pilling / Crankworx

Air DH: champs and legends

Verbeeck’s first podium came as part of a sweep of the women’s Air DH. Kirsten Van Horne and Whistler local Georgia Astle (Devinici Global Racing) made an all-Canadian podium for the event.

“This is my first Air DH win at Crankworx Whistler, and A-Line is pretty epic,” Verbeeck said of her win. “I’m definitely excited. Whistler is a big tsunami, so I was trying to ease into it but yesterday evening, I started to feel the pressure and the stress like there is just so much coming in. I’m really happy that today worked out the way that I wanted it to. I’m feeling fresh and excited to see how the week ahead turns out.”

Verbeeck sprays podium champagne
Verbeek and Mick Hannah on the Air DH podium. Photo: Oisin McHugh / Crankworx

On the men’s side, Australian legend Mick Hannah landed on the top of the Air DH podium. He was flanked by New Zealand’s Sam Blenkinsop and Jackson Frew in second and third.

“The run was really good, the track is in really good condition this year, they’ve done a lot of work on it, and it was running fast,” Hannah said of his winning run down Whistler Bike Park’s iconic A-Line. “The bike setup was important, but also just executing everything really well was also important. Because it was running faster, there was a little bit less pedaling than usual, so I felt like I wasn’t really push hard enough but I just kind of felt like I was at the limit of the track. It was an interesting race run, and it went well.”

Crankworx Air DH podium
Three Canadian women and three Oceania men on the Air DH podium. Photo: Clint Trahan / Crankworx

Hannah is an icon of Crankworx. He’s participated in every single Crankworx Whistler since the festival started back in 2004. Nearly two decades later, he’s still landing podiums. After two years away from Whistler, the Australian was stoked to be back.

“It’s amazing to be back here in Whistler. There’s such a fun atmosphere here and you get to have really fun laps with all our buddies and friends that we don’t necessarily see every week,” Hannah said. “There’s people that I have seen for over a year so it’s been really nice and awesome to be here. It’s Whistler, isn’t it!”

Dual Slalom: Verbeeck and Kerr ride momentum onto podium

One day later, Verbeeck was back at it in Dual Slalom. With the Quebec-born rider managing her Formation knee injury, Whistler is shaping up to be a heavy week. Still, a big W has a way of lifting the spirits.

“I feel I’m in a dream right now! I don’t know, I haven’t had this much knee pain since my actual injury happened months ago, and I feel bad mentioning my knee being an issue because I’m winning,” Verbeeck admitted after the race. “Honestly, I’m having really tough days right now, so it feels like a dream when I come out on top at the end of a race.”

Bernard Kerr
Bernard Kerr keeps his recent run of podiums going with a win in Dual Slalom. Photo: Oisin McHugh / Crankworx

Bernard Kerr is also riding high, arriving in Whistler hot off two World Cup downhill podiums in Snowshoe and on the other side of Canada in Mont-Sainte-Anne. The Pivot manager/racer was clearly loving the Crankworx Whistler vibes after his Dual Slalom win.

“I’m so stoked to be back here, I love this place and just hyped to be racing again and doing good,” said Kerr. “It’s been a minute since I won a Crankworx event, so I’m stoked and I couldn’t be happier. When you’re on, you’re on, and I guess I’m on right now so I want to keep it going.”

Bas van Steenbergen rounds a corner during Dual Slalom racing at Crankworx Whistler
Bas van Steenbergen lands dual slalom bronze in Whistler. Photo: Oisin McHugh / Crankworx

Crankworx Whistler: Dual Slalom results

Vaea Verbeeck (CAN) // Bernard Kerr (GBR)
Jordy Scott (U.S.A) // Joey Foresta (USA)
Louise Ferguson (GBR) // Bas Van Steenbergen (CAN)