Just a week after his gnarly crash at the UCI World Cup in Val di Sole (Italy), Trek World Racing's Justin Leov (NZL) took second place in the Garbanzo Downhill at Crankworx – considered the longest traditional downhill race in the world at more than 13 minutes. Taking place in the spectacular Whistler Mountains in Canada – a mecca for mountain biking and one of the most awesome venues a downhill rider can hope to find – the Garbanzo Downhill race is the equivalent of 3 World Cup Downhill's run back-to-back, and a huge test of fitness.
Last year Justin set a new course record for the Garbanzo, at 13m 44secs (which was more than 40 seconds quicker than the old record of Gee Atherton's). This year, in defending his title, Justin broke his 2009 record by an amazing 15 seconds riding the 12km course in 13 minutes 29 seconds. However Chris Kovarik (AUS), who finished 2nd behind Justin last year, completed the course in an impressive 13 minutes 22 seconds and set the new mark. In third place was Justin's good friend and fellow New Zealander, Sam Blenkinsop.
Considering that only 7 days earlier, Justin was cleared from hospital after suffering concussion, it makes his podium place an even more remarkable achievement and promises good things to come in the following 7 days left of racing.
Teammate Andrew Neethling (RSA) also had a good run finishing 8th, hot on the back of his first World Cup podium in Italy last week. Andrew also looks set to get some great results here this week.
Justin said: "I'm just really happy with how today went considering last week and not being able to race in Italy. I had a pretty solid run, maybe saved a little energy in the top where I could've pushed a bit harder but to be honest I'm just happy with how the run went and to get down and be on the podium".
Andrew and Justin will remain in Whistler for the duration of Crankworx, which runs until Sunday 15th August.
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