The BIKE Festival comes to an end and so does the second round of the iXS European Downhill Cup. The race definitely was one of the most exciting highlights of the weekend’s agenda, that also included numerous other competitions with a marathon, an Enduro race, a pump track battle, the Gravel Road Race and a lot more.
It has been the first EDC race in Willingen and more than 350 riders from 23 different nations followed their invitation to the first EDC race on German ground after four years. In the past Willingen has hosted several World Cup races and thus can be counted as one of the most demanding courses even if it isn't one of the longest ones with only 1650 meters and a 300-meter descent. After two years as an iXS German Downhill Cup host, however, the organizers decided to take it to another level by adding a few more lines and transforming the Ettelsberg bike park track into a real racing battleground with lots of fast twists and turns, jumps and roots and, of course, a lot of fun. Unfortunately, the weather was as versatile as the track itself this weekend: starting with sunshine during the first training session on Friday, followed by lots of rain during the night, and then continuing with some more sunshine on Saturday morning, until it again started to rain half way through the qualifications.
The first category who really had to stand up to the extremely wet and muddy conditions was the Elite Women. After everyone trained on a dry track during the training sessions, it seemed extremely complicated - impossible even - to anticipate how the race would turn out and how to prepare for it. At the end of the day, however, it seemed like reigning European champion, Jana Bartova (CZE - RRP) knew exactly how to adjust to the situation, as she set a time of 2:39.788 minutes. Veronika Widmann (ITA - Bike Club Egna Neumarkt) finished only 5 seconds behind in second place, while odds-on favorite, Carina Cappellari (SUI - Radon Magura Factory) ended up in 15th place.Carina Cappellari (SUI - Radon Magura Factory)
The Elite Men category had some difficulties with the overall conditions, especially with the last section, so that some riders who started extremely fast lost their lead just before the finish line. Enduro Pro, Gustav Wildhaber (SUI - Cube Action Team) surprised everyone with a really fast time that brought him fourth place, while odds-on favorite, Johannes Fischbach (GER - Radon Magura Factory) took first place with a 3-second lead towards Matej Charvat (CZE - Banshee Bikes).Manuel Gruber (AUT - RRP)
On Sunday morning it finally ceased to rain, but the track was still soaked with water, especially in the lower sections. In the Elite Women category, Jana Bartova simply seemed to repeat her seeding run and took the lead once more with a time of 2:33.859 minutes and a 1.6-second lead over Carina Cappellari, who came in second. Veronika Widmann (ITA - Bike Club Egna Neumarkt) completed the podium in third and at the same time took the lead in the rankings.Jana Bartova (CZE - RRP)
The Super Final of the Elite Men category once more provided the fans with a really exciting competition right until the end. After Slawomir Lukasik (POL - NS Bikes FroPro) held the best time for quite some time, Johannes Fischbach was the only one able and eager enough to take over the lead. It seemed to be a very close decision, and all eyes were on Fischbach during his run. When he finally crossed the finish line, he delivered the best time of the day with 2:12.277 minutes despite the extremely challenging conditions. Fischbach took the second title of the EDC season, followed closely once again by Slawomir Lukasik and Faustin Figaret (FRA - Radon Magura Factory Team).Faustin Figaret (FRA - Radon Magura Factory Team)Slawomir Lukasik (POL - NS Bikes FroPro)Johannes Fischbach (GER - Radon Magura Factory)Radon Magura Factory Team (Carina Cappellari, Faustin Figaret, Johannes Fischbach, Bodo Probst)
The debut of Willingen as an EDC host can be entered in our books as an absolute success! Hopefully that means that another annual host has joined the iXS EDC family, as we’re already looking forward to coming back here. The BIKE Festival steadily keeps on growing and the exciting Gravity races add even more to its appeal for riders, visitors, and sponsors at the same time!www.ixsdownhillcup.com