Robin Wallner and Emmeline Ragot are the iXS European Cup Champs!
This weekend the European Series came to a close in Todtnau, germany. Almost 300 riders from 18 countries took on the course in the Black Forest. Robin Wallner defended his lead to take home the win for the series, while Emmeline Ragot took home the cup in the women’s category.
The iXS European Downhill Cup was held in seven different countries this year. As the last stop it was Todtnau on the schedule, expected to be one of the most thrilling races on the German downhill calendar. After the last run in the French Châtel the favourites for the win were already set, but the series excited until the very last minute. With the outside conditions being mixed, the 3 kilometre long course with its 500 meter descent was perfectly prepared and offered difficult but almost perfect race conditions.
With the riders having to collect valuable points in the seeding run it came as no surprise that they went full speed on Saturday. Fastest rider in the elite men category was surprisingly Andreas Sieber with a time of 3:38.093. In the women’s category Emmeline Ragot showed her ambitions for the title and qualified nine seconds faster than the rest of the field.
On Sunday Todtnau presented its best weather and it came as no surprise that many spectators made their way to the Hasenhorn. They could enjoy great sports action on offer. The masters category opened the final, and even though Wilfred van de Haterd had secured the overall title already, the riders fought for every point available. In the end Fabian Arzberger took the win, with Marcel Waldmann coming second, while also securing the 2nd place in the overall series. Van de Haterd finished the race as third and made this weekend a perfect one for him.
The elite women class was far away from being decided before Todtnau, so all candidates for the overall title were focused on the weekend. Unfortunately the leading rider Floriane Pugin couldn’t defend her position, as she injured her hand at the last World Cup race. Therefore the three candidates for the overall win came from almost the same position into the race. Only 6 points apart the national champs from Switzerland, France and Slovenia took to the course. Emmeline Ragot, however, was the hottest name for the title, and could cut her distance to the top by two points after the seeding run already. Nevertheless she had to finish ahead of Miriam Ruchti.
The first of the three rivals on the coursed was Zarja Cernilogar, who only came fourth in the seeding run, 26 seconds behind. The final didn’t go any better for her and she had to settle behind Martina Brühlmann. Next one over the line was Ruchti, and with 4:14.298 she finished in a time that would have been the fastest on the previous day. The conditions on the course had improved from the previous day, and therefore all expected Ragot to improve her time as well. The former world champion didn’t disappoint and secured in 4:06.071 the top spot on the podium, and became European Series Champion 2012.
Next to follow was the final in the elite men category, and as the first true title candidate Johann Potgieter went on the course. Over the finish line his time wasn’t that great and he was off the podium spots. Next one on the course was Robin Wallner, and despite having a rather average time half way through the race, he could make up for a good chunk of time in the second half and put himself on the top. But his lead only lasted exactly one run, as Joshua Button came home two tenths faster. The only two left on the course were Andreas Sieber and Markus Pekoll.
As Pekoll came to the last straight before the finish it was clear that he was fast enough for a new best time. With 3:34.261 and 1.3 seconds ahead he set a time that was hard to beat by Sieber. The predicted happened, as Sieber missed the podium but finished in a respectable fourth place. The final spots on the podium were: Pekoll ahead of Button and Wallner. The Swede defended his overall lead and became the new iXS European Cup Champion 2012. Potgieter became overall second, and Damien Spagnolo managed to secure the third spot, just one point ahead of team mate Pekoll.
That’s not only the last race in Todtnau over, but also the season finished for the European Series. With seven stops in seven countries the year 2012 was one of the most successful of the iXS calendar. All further information and the race videos can be found at ixsdownhillcup.com
All photos by Thomas Dietze
Tue 25th Sep, 2012 @ 10:20 am