Maribor, Slovenia was host to the first World Cup event of 2008, where e.thirteen athletes shined once again on Eastern Europe soil. Maribor was the location of the last World Cup event in 2007, and riders were looking to better their times from the previous event so they could start their seasons off on the right foot. e.thirteen athletes won both the men’s and women’s elite downhill, and captured an amazing eight out of ten of the top positions in the elite men’s downhill.
The 4X race was an extremely difficult course, with a flat and loose first corner, followed by a tight second corner. In most cases, the winners of each heat would be decided in the first two turns of the extremely technical 4X track. The Maribor track also featured roots and grass, convincing riders like Cedric Gracia and the eventual winner of the women’s 4X, Anneke Beerten, to switch over to their full suspension bikes.
e.thirteen athlete Dan Atherton qualified first in the 4X, followed by many other top racers. The course became even more technical and difficult when four riders were fighting for lines (as opposed to the single-rider qualification runs), and many top names didn’t make the final due to crashes, or riders crashing into them. This left a lot of space open in the final for some unknown riders to shine.
Cedric Gracia was a rider who suffered from a wild crash during one of the last heats leading up to the finals. He came back in full force during the small final, though, winning fifth place.
The downhill race in Slovenia was packed with riders – over 300 men were signed up for the race on Sunday, making practice quite hectic and also wearing the course down over the weekend’s practice sessions. Spectators of the event were able to spot every color of e.thirteen product, as the White, Seafoam and RPM Orange Limited Colorways chain retention devices were in heavy use during the event. Sam Hill was also running a custom Monster green–colored direct mount bashguard on his bike.
The women’s downhill race was really between two women at the end of the day. Rachel Atherton qualified five seconds ahead of the entire field in Slovenia, and defending world champion Sabrina Jonnier knew that she would have to throw down in order to compete with Rachel. The two girls pushed each other super hard, but in the end, Sabrina was able to put an edge of .18 seconds on Rachel for the win at the first World Cup event of 2008.
Chain Reaction/Intense rider Julien Camellini qualified first on the Slovenian World Cup downhill track, making his presence known in Maribor. Camellini landed in third place at last year’s event, and he was on pace to stand on the podium again. Peat followed Camellini, then Sam Hill qualified third. By comparing the qualifying times to last year’s final times, everyone in attendance knew that all of the top riders had plenty of room to cut time on their race runs and waited in anticipation for two p.m. to roll around, when the racing action would begin.
Andrew Neethling came through the finish line at 2:56, setting the pace for the top 20 men, but was unseated shortly thereafter by Justin Leov (2:52), who was then unseated by Gee Atherton. Gee sat in the hot seat for quite a while, until Fabien Barel came down with a lightning fast time on his new Mondraker/Subaru ride.
Barel sat calmly on the hot seat while all eyes turned to the television monitor for Sam Hill’s race run. A brief silence rushed over the crowd while Sam pinned it out of the start gate. Sam set a blistering pace through the top half of the course, smashing Barel’s split by over two seconds! By the time he arrived at the bottom of the course, Sam had cut nearly another two seconds off of Barel’s time, leaving Sam at 2:47, handily taking over the top spot for Maribor.
The first place qualifier and last rider to run was the prodigy of e.thirteen athlete Nico Voillouz, Julien Camellini. Camellini has a good history of results on the Maribor course, and felt confident all weekend during his practice runs. He put together a great run, but no one was able to catch Sam Hill and his Monster/Iron Horse Sunday. Camellini came down just ahead of Peaty, bettering his third place podium spot from 2007 to a silver medal in 2008.
The Freecaster crew interviewed Sam after yet another amazing victory. Freecaster asked Hill how he was able to go so fast on the Maribor course, and a relaxed Sam Hill replied, “Actually I didn’t feel that fast. I was hoping to go faster.”
The e.thirteen sponsored Animal/Commencal team of The Athertons snapped up the lead for overall team points in Maribor.
e.thirteen is proud to support the world’s best racers through the World Cup series, putting our products to the test on the most grueling downhill and 4X tracks that the world has to offer. Congratulations to all three of our riders who stood on top of the podium, and also a hearty congratulations to all of our other athletes that slayed it in Slovenia this weekend!
e.thirteen components is a small, rider-owned and operated company that strongly supports dozens of grassroots races, series, contests and other riding events all over the world every year. Founded in 2001, e.thirteen’s innovative, functional, simple and lightweight chain retention systems have made them a world leader in this category, and the choice of top pro and amateur riders and mechanics alike. They support a worldwide distribution network and take great pride in offering devoted customer service.
source: Aaron Lutze