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Jonnier trades bike for skis for a weekend of racing

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World Cup Champion downhill racer, Sabrina Jonnier, of Hyères, France, prepares to race the women's Val d'Allos Urge Ski Enduro

World Cup Champion downhill racer, Sabrina Jonnier, of Hyères, France, prepares to race the women's Val d'Allos Urge Ski Enduro
(Image credit: Tribe Sport Group)
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Downhill World Cup Women's champion Sabrina Jonnier (left), of Hyères, France, negotiates the slopes of Val d'Allos on her way to finishing fourth in the women's Val d'Allos Urge Ski Enduro

Downhill World Cup Women's champion Sabrina Jonnier (left), of Hyères, France, negotiates the slopes of Val d'Allos on her way to finishing fourth in the women's Val d'Allos Urge Ski Enduro
(Image credit: Tribe Sport Group)
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Sabrina Jonnier (right), of Hyères, France, shares a moment with her good friend and eventual women's winner Cécile Ravanel on her way to finishing fourth in the women's Val d'Allos Urge Ski Enduro held at Val d'Allos on January 15, 2011.

Sabrina Jonnier (right), of Hyères, France, shares a moment with her good friend and eventual women's winner Cécile Ravanel on her way to finishing fourth in the women's Val d'Allos Urge Ski Enduro held at Val d'Allos on January 15, 2011.
(Image credit: Tribe Sport Group)

Current World Cup downhill champion Sabrina Jonnier traded her mountain bike for skis and finished fourth at the Val d'Allos Urge Ski Enduro held at Val d'Allos, France, on Saturday.

The Maxxis - Rocky Mountain rider of Hyères, France, lined up on the snow with skis clipped to her feet. Apparently a gifted athlete on snow, too, Jonnier placed in the top five at her first-ever ski race and the world's first-ever Val d'Allos Urge Ski Enduro event.

Jonnier has spent the last few European winter seasons training and riding with friends in New Zealand's summer, but opted to stay at home and to spend as much time in the snow as she could this year.

The inaugural Val d'Allos Urge Ski Enduro was an easy choice for her she said."The event is very cool - it is skiing, but in a mountain bike enduro race format," she said. "Competitors left the start gate in 15 seconds intervals and nobody knew the tracks - you just had to look for the flagged course."

Next year would be even tougher, she said. "They are talking about making the same race next year over two days with 10 runs - that will be fun. It will be very tough."

Jonnier's first UCI World Cup race of 2011 will take place in South Africa at the end of April. She will contest the full UCI Downhill World Cup schedule as well as the World Championships in Champéry, Switzerland.