SENDING IT IN CHAMPERY WITH CROSS-COUNTRY WHIPPETS

After a bit of a late start leaving Chatel in the morning, Matt Scoles and I decided we would head over and check out the XC. Unfortunately we arrived a little late to catch the women's round where Rosara Joseph stomped a solid 27th place and Samara Sheppard, in her first ever World Cup race scored a respectable 65th (out of a starting field of 99 riders). We quickly made a beeline for a section we'd heard about that contained a couple of steep rooty switchbacks and then a two-foot step down. When we got there, a lot of serious practice was going down with only ONE person (Nino Shurter) cleaning the switchbacks, pretty much everyone was sending the drop which was impressive to see, but some definitely were a lot more confident (and less sketchy) than others. We didn't really move from here (mainly because it was so entertaining), and combined with an injured Cam Cole and Amy Laird's raucous cheering we gave most of the riders a bit of friendly encouragement. 14th ranked Florian Vogel took the win followed by Czech Jaroslav Kulhavy, Nino Schurter in third, Justin Leov's Trek World Racing teammate Mathias Fluckiger in fourth and Julien Absalon rounded off the podium in fifth.