Finals day has been and gone in a puff of smoke, no refunds required... Anybody disappointed with that race besides individuals by the name of Macdonald or Hannah has undeniably been following the wrong sport all along. To witness that full throttle sprint down a gauntlet of some of the most heinous terrain nature can procure, followed by a final dash through the Croatian streets was a delight to behold. Admittedly brief, it was a race that succeeded in packing all of the good stuff into those 2 minutes 20+ seconds and it's left everyone both sides of the tape wanting more - heck let's have a whole season of it.
Idyllic atmospherics blessed the hillside from every day, start to finish and had there been more than a spoonful of dirt available on this course, it would surely have been hooking up just perfectly. In the end, only the most prepared, precise and plain lucky of racers survived the relentless bombardment of igneous aggression and more sedate man-made speed tuck, to come out on top. Vali Holl and Thibaut Daprela made one hell of a first impression in the junior women's and men's categories, while last year's World Cup champion, Myriam Nicole, romped to an intimidating 3.5 second victory against a field that included a fit and healthy Rachel Atherton. In the men's race, Aaron Gwin flexed on what was clearly a perfect off-season to maintain his insane stranglehold on the competition and was joined by two fellow Americans (Luca Shaw & Dakota Norton), an in-form Sam Blenkinsop and rising star Dean Lucas. Meanwhile, Saturday's hero; fastest qualifier, Brook Macdonald, took an almighty spill, but survives to take the fight onto the Highlands at the start of June. The 'Bill just can't come soon enough.
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