It is one of THE events of the year: Crankworx Whistler. Every year now, for the last decade, the Canadian town in British Columbia, captivates the entire biking world for 10 solid days of mountain bike action. Downhill, enduro and slopestyle are all crammed into the festival, which unites fans from around the globe and creates a level of suspense that is almost unbearable. The main event is Red Bull Joyride – which just so happens to be ‘conveniently’ scheduled towards the end of Crankworx Whistler, when the pressure is near boiling point. This prestigious slopestyle contest is a Diamond event on the FMB World Tour calendar and athletes are carefully and ruthlessly selected. Among the world's best slopestyle riders to be invited were the two CANYON heroes, Thomas Genon and Anton Thelander. And once more Anton Thelander drew attention to his incredible talent: finishing fourth overall, the young Swede literally brushed past a spot on the podium. However, the judges recognized his amazing performance and awarded him with the "Young Gun Award". His team-mate and defending Red Bull Joyride Champion, Thomas Genon did not fare as well as in the previous year. An uncompleted first run forced him to place it all on the line for his second attempt – unfortunately a consecutive win wasn’t written in the stars, although the Belgian rider achieved a more than respectable 6th place, securely within the top 10. Catch a glimpse of what they threw down at Red Bull Joyride in this clip:
Anton who? Last year this fresh kid on the block was known for being the protégé of freeride celebrity Martin Soderstrom, but now, with remarkable results on the board he has built a name and reputation for himself. They call him: Anton “Cleanlander”. The rider from Uppsala, Sweden has been collecting titles all season – already acclaimed as Red Bull Phenom champion, he can now call himself the Red Bull Joyride "Young Gun". His first run didn’t exactly go according to plan, but once he gathered his wits together, he stood at the gate, ready to drop in again. Calm and collected, Anton didn’t fly down the demanding Red Bull Joyride course like his competitors, oh no – he glided in his usual smooth and flawless fashion. This time, he impressed the judges with a truck driver from the drop, tailwhip off the logride and a barspin. Then things got serious – heart pumping, he rolled into a huge flip whip and then a massive corked flip on the Red Bull Sender, following on with a 270 truck driver on the hip, 360 spin from the Joyride cabin and rounded off his run with an incredibly clean backflip and corked flip barspin. While Anton made this sleek run look effortless, the tens of thousands of spectators were left shouting and cheering as he crossed under the finishing arch. The result was a score of 82.20, a solid fourth place and a deserved "Young Gun Award".
This year’s Red Bull Joyride has been on Thomas Genon’s mind ever since it triggered his meteoric rise last year, when the young Belgian shocked the world and took the win. Let there be no doubt, expectations were high and the pressure was on! Unfortunately, this may have got the better of Thomas but a spectacular crash in his first run shook it right out of him. Aggravated but determined, Thomas was not fazed by his tumble. He mastered the second run confidently with a truck driver, a tuck no hander, as well as a huge backflip tuck no hander to x-up, followed by a double tailwhip and a breath-taking front flip. To reaffirm his claim to fame, he finished his run with a 270 downside whip over the hip, a barspin up onto the cabin and a tailwhip down, tuck nohand over the long jump and he ended up with a tailwhip at the last step down. With 79.00 points, he landed safely in sixth place.
With these results in the bag, the FMB World Tour overall ranking is looking pretty good for the two talents: Thomas is currently sitting in fourth, just ahead of his team-mate Anton in fifth. There are still a few more events on the calendar this season – and both riders will give their best to climb up into the top three. But no matter how it plans out, Thomas Genon and Anton Thelander clearly belong to the elite group of top freeride athletes!