The sixth leg of the iXS European Downhill Cup will take place this weekend in Châtel, France. Following the World Cup finals and the world championships, it will be the last race in the European Series, marking the end of the international 2011 downhill season.
After pitching its tents at the prestigious bike parks of Monte Tamaro in Switzerland, Todtnau in Germany, Leogang in Austria, Spicák in Czech and Pila in Italy, the series will celebrate its finale in Châtel. The village is located in the Portes du Soleil region and, together with Leogang, is the oldest Cup venue.
This year the course, challenging as ever, will host the fight for the last points for the fourth time. The starting list promises top level riding.
Australian Joshua Button (SC-Intense) currently leads the overall rankings in the elite men's category with 559 points, closely followed by Austrian Markus Pekoll (MS Evil Racing) with 525 points. New Zealander Brook MacDonald (MS Evil Racing) is in third with 373 points. If four results are included only (the worst seeding run and final run will not count) then the standing looks different, with Pekoll (489) leading ahead of Button (463) and MacDonald (373). So all three still have a shot at the overall win, whereby in realistic terms a duel between the Austrian and the Australian is more likely.
The following riders could also theoretically snatch third place from MacDonald: Slovenian Nejk Rutar (Unior Tools), Swiss Dominik Gspan (EWZ Mountainbiketeam Loop), Czech Adam Vagner (RockMachine) and German Marcus Klausmann (ATG Ghost)
In the elite women's category, it was already clear after the penultimate race of the series in Pila that Swiss Miriam Ruchti (SC-Nukeproof) was the overall winner. She could be joined on the podium by compatriots Emilie Siegenthaler (Scott 11) and Carina Cappellari (iXS Sports Division/Yeti) or German Harriet Rücknagel (OnTheEdge). These three will have to settle who gets the other two winners' spots on the podium among themselves.