Kyle “comeback” Croxall beats local hero Mirko Lahti in Jyvaskyla thriller, hat-trick for Amanda Trunzo
JYVASKYLA, Finland – SPORTS – Former World Champion Kyle Croxall, from Canada, won a thrilling finale in Jyvaskyla by beating reigning double Junior World Champion Mirko Lahti, who skated at home, in the Finnish stage of the Red Bull Crashed Ice series. In the women’s race, American Amanda Trunzo made it three wins in a row on this very demanding track, ahead of Switzerland’s Anaïs Morand.
This first win in a Red Bull Crashed Ice race since 2015 in Saint Paul allows Kyle Croxall, who was crowned in 2012, to take a slight lead in the 2018/19 ATSX Ice Cross Downhill World Championship, ahead of Lahti and brother Scott Croxall, heading to the last big race of this winter, next Saturday in Boston’s famous Fenway Park, USA.
“I am so happy, after what happened to me last year,” said Croxall in the finish area, referring to his disqualification in 2018 after an incident with Austrian Marco Dallago in the final. “I knew I had a chance to pass Mirko and I waited for it. Now I will try to recover a bit and next week in Boston, on a very technical track, I will give everything I have,” added the new championship leader.
He appeared to be very strong in the previous rounds, but his start in the final was not so good before he benefited from the spectacular fall of his younger brother, who was leading the race and hit the wall. He then waited for the last flat portion of the 630-meter track to step on the accelerator, leaving Lahti helpless. The podium was completed by Luca Dallago, last year’s winner here.
This exciting day in Jyväskylä started with a huge surprise: the favourite, championship leader and fastest rider in the time trials on Friday, American Cameron Naasz, was eliminated in the Round of 32 after hitting a hole in the ice: “These things happen in the sport. It’s tough, it’s rough ice, it is natural, so it’s not easy to skate on. But the conditions are the same for all of us,” said the disappointed former champion in the finish area.
Another local hero, Finnish policeman Paavo Klintrup, 29, for his last home race before retiring from the sport, lasted a bit longer than Naasz, only to be kicked out in the last quarter-final, the one won by Lahti. It was like passing the torch to his younger compatriot: “I will miss the friends and the atmosphere,” an emotional Klintrup said.
In the women’s race, American Amanda Trunzo took the lead from the start and Swiss lightweight Anaïs Morand, the quickest rider on Friday, never managed to catch her. It was Trunzo’s third win in a row on this marathon track: “It was a really good final, with the top four women in the world, so to come out on top, I cannot be more proud,” Trunzo said in the finish area. Myriam Trépanier was never in the hunt for the win but she took the third place on the podium, ahead of fellow Canadian Jacqueline Légère, who still leads the World Championship ahead of Trunzo and Morand.
In Ice Cross Downhill, athletes race down a natural or artificial ice track, four-at-a-time, at speeds of up to 80km/h. The first two advance to the next round as the field is whittled down to a final four in an extreme test of stamina, physical condition and exposure to the elements.
Final results Men: 1. Kyle Croxall (CAN), 2. Mirko Lahti (FIN), 3. Luca Dallago (AUT), 4. Scott Croxall (CAN), 5. John Fisher (CAN), 6. Kilian Braun (SUI), 7. Patrik Merz (SUI), 8. Antti Tolvanen (FIN), 9. Maxwell Dunne (USA), 10. Marco Dallago (AUT).
Final results Women: 1. Amanda Trunzo (USA), 2. Anaïs Morand (SUI), 3. Myriam Trépanier (CAN), 4. Jacqueline Légère (CAN), 5. Tamara Kajah (CAN), 6. Maxie Planté (CAN), 7. Marjut Klemola (FIN), 8. Amandine Condroyer (FRA). 9. Victoria Senotrusova (RUS), 10. Junko Yamamoto (J PN).