After having qualified as third fastest, America's Duncan Riffle (DRR/Giantnerd) won the iXS European Downhill Cup's first race of the season in Verbier last weekend, clearly beating the times of New Zealand's Matthew Scoles (Bike NZ), Ireland's Ben Reid (Just Reid Race Team) and the surprisingly fast German Benny Strasser (Toxoholic/iXS) under completely different conditions than in the seeding run.
In the women's race, France's Floriane Pugin (Ironhorse) posted the fastest time, edging out Swiss national champion Emilie Siegenthaler (Scott 11) and Ecuador's Diana Marggraff (Zenith).
For the athletes, it was a tricky weekend with constantly changing weather and course conditions. "Both the choice of tires and the suspension set-up were not easy given the changing conditions," said men's winner Riffle, who added that he did not take big risks during his final run.
Faster qualifier Nick Beer (Scott 11) flatted immediately after the start of the final run, and in fact, it was his elder brother Marcel who drew most of the attention by riding without a chain all weekend.
Sans chain, he finished in fifth overall and as the fastest Swiss rider of the day. The lack of a chain was caused by a missing derailleur mount on GT's exotic full carbon downhill bike. "I wanted to finish in a time of 3:30," he said. Well, it turned out to be a 3:14, which is rather surprising considering that some non-downward sloping portions of the course forced him to propel himself forward by doing running-like motions on his bike in order not to lose too much speed.
"Just wait until I have got a chain on my bike again," said Beer, teasing his competitors.
See Cyclingnews' full coverage of the iXS European Downhill Cup in Verbier.