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Crankworx kicks off with a bang

Lopes takes crit, Ropelato dual slalom, Smith the downhill

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Charlton Durie was with the leaders for most of the race but dropped off towards the end, while Wolsky - who placed fifth - rode on his own and even put on a bit of a show by jumping over the wooden ramp that was built over a feature of the Olympic Plaza.

 

Dual slalom goes big

The course for the annual Crankworx Dual Slalom was a little different this year, with a wedge jump at the top, a few challenging gaps through the middle and some bigger airs near the end. It wasn't as busy with berms and gates, and riders had more room to pedal.

While there was some heavy rain earlier in the day the course set up well and most pro riders said that their grip improved as the event wore on.

At the end there were just two men and two women remaining to challenge for the title. For Mitch Ropelato of the U.S., who fell in the finals last year, it was a chance at redemption and he didn't disappoint. He bested Australian Mick Hannah in two straight heats to take the title.

"You just had to keep it smooth, stay on the cranks and go fast," said Ropelato. "I think there was a lot more pedalling this year, you were pedalling anywhere you could fit a crank in. I didn't qualify that good, but I got better as the day went on with my friend Cody coaching me through it.

"We were all worried about the rain, but it wasn't that big a deal. The course got a lot tackier, then it would rain again, then it would get tacky. You couldn't think about it, just go out there and have fun and ride your bike."

In the small final, Michal Mororsi crashed in a berm, leaving Kyle Strait to take third place.

There were only four women racing in the women's dual. Jill Kintner of the U.S. beat reigning champion Micayla Gatto of North Vancouver in two runs to take the title. Kintner seemed the most comfortable on the course, getting up and over the first feature quickly and building on her lead as the race went on.

"I really like slalom and this little dual suspension bike felt awesome on this course, so it was a win-win for me," she said of the course. "I was just riding and enjoying it, and the whole atmosphere. I've been riding downhill so much that I never get to ride these little bikes, but I didn't lose it I guess.