German Lukas Knopf secures a career high win and top-tier French athlete lands his first FISE series title
Throwing three combinations off the top on the FISE Slopestyle Mountain Bike course Sunday, proved the magic potion German Lukas Knopf needed to crack the top tier of freestyle mountain biking with a watershed win.
The only rider to pack more than two combos into the first half of the course, he bested an FMB (Freeride Mountain Bike Association) Diamond Series regular, Mehdi Ganhi, and earned himself his first FMB Gold-level win, and likely a spot in the Diamond series next year.
The FMB ranks its competitions by degree of difficulty and Sunday’s FISE event was considered a Gold-level competition, the final tier before the half-dozen elite-level Diamond events. It is also the last event needed to clinch the FISE Slopestyle Mountain Bike Series—a bucket list item Knopf will leave for next year.
“I’m overwhelmed right now. It’s my first big win… so I’m super pumped that could hold it together,” he said, adding he was also thrilled the win place him second in the FISE series.
Launching with a very technical 360 double barspin off the 18-metre step-down, he executed a front-flip no hander on the first jump, a 360 barspin on the second, and squeezed in a couple of barspins to conclude the first line. He then used a double tailwhip to pop up to the unique quarter-pipe turn, which sent riders down the backside of the course, and threw in an oppo barspin, followed by a truck-driver down to his last trick—a 360 tailwhip to barspin.
The only other rider to attempt three combinations down the front line of the course was Ghani, who could have secured the win had he not missed his final trick. Nevertheless, the cork-720 off the first jump and flip-bar to no hand on the second was impressive enough to earn him third place—his first overall FISE Slopestyle Mountain Bike win.
“I’m happy. Last year I was second place and this year I talked to myself and said: 'Ok maybe I’m going to try to take it this year.’ And I got it!” said the 28-year-old French rider.
Gani has his eye on Montpellier next season, and says he wants to take the FISE title again. Stay tuned to see where the riders will be as FISE announces its 2018 calendar later this month.
FISE MOUNTAIN BIKE SLOPESTYLE final standings:
1. Lukas Knopf, Germany watch his run
2. Paul Couderic, France watch his run
3. Mehdi Gani, France Watch his run
Watch the replay of the final :