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Gutierrez Villegas, Buchar take home Garbo DH titles

Colombian rider wins for second year in a row

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Marcelo Gutierrez Villegas continued his dominance of the Garbanzo DH on Tuesday, while Whistler's own Claire Buchar captured the pro women's title in the first downhill race of Crankworx Whistler.

Villegas, who won the race in 2013 and finished second the two years previous, was first by a wide margin on Tuesday after he conquered the lengthy, technical course in a time of 12 minutes, 24.65 seconds. Switzerland's Nick Beer was 19 seconds behind in taking runner-up honours, while B.C. rider Mark Wallace finished at 12:44.40 to land on the last podium spot.

Australia's Josh Carlson, just two days removed from racing the SRAM Canadian Open Enduro, put in an impressive performance to place fourth.

When asked what's helped propel him to a fourth-consecutive top-two finish, Gutierrez Villegas said he simply likes the course, which descends some 3,400 feet as it winds through the Whistler Mountain Bike Park.

"When you like a track - and I love this track - it makes you enjoy it more when you're riding it," said the Colombian. "I feel that (the riding here) is kind of like at home."

Buchar, herself a past Garbanzo DH winner before Tuesday, didn't have a big field to compete with, as just six pro women completed the course. It ultimately came down to a battle between Buchar (14:22.64) and fellow B.C. rider Casey Brown, who came across the line 17 seconds behind to take the silver.

Although Buchar said it was disappointing that there weren't more women in the field, "a race is still a race," she added.

"I always seem to do pretty good (in this race) even though it's so painful that I kind of dread it," she laughed. "I just kept it smooth. I didn't do anything special.

"To be honest, in some spots I felt so slow and didn't think I was doing well. You never know, but I think that's just the nature of the course, because some spots are so tight and flat and you're on a downhill bike. But you need the downhill bike for the gnarly bits."

Swiss rider Lorraine Truong (+1:46.57) finished in third place.

Downhill racing continues on Wednesday, Aug. 13, with the Fox Air DH classic down A-Line. Pick up Pique on Thursday, Aug. 14, for a complete wrap of the Garbanzo DH.

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