K-124 Days 2011 - Day 2
Wednesday 27 April 2011
by Ben Swales

PNG - 385.3 kb The second round of the 2011 K-124 Days competition is over and it was MASSIVE. The first round left everybody, riders and spectators alike, wondering how it could be topped. Alain Rémy and his 80 volunteers from the Bike Trial Franc Comtois club had set some exceptional sections and ensured that everything went without a hitch, the weather was perfect and the international season had begun in style (K-124 Days 2011 - Jour 1)! Sunday’s final round was even better: radiant sunshine, even more spectators than the previous day and crazy sections that pushed the Elite and Super Elite riders further than ever before. It was an unforgettable spectacle!

The spectacle began in the early afternoon, with the Coust’ brothers and Vincent Hermance warming up alongside some of the Elite riders and some younger riders as well. That’s the magic of K-124 Days: uniting the crème de la crème with the grass roots riders in a single competition! The pressure mounts quickly. Vince lands a huge gap between two wooden obstacles. Gilles does the same with majestic ease. Giaco’ follows. Then they start climbing the rocks before an awe-struck crowd; it’s fantastic to watch. JPEG - 964.4 kb Théau Courtès lands a bunnyhop that is a high as it is technical and the crowds erupts with applause. Iciar Van den Bergh, in the lead in Elite, falls hard and limps off with the red cross volunteers. He still managed to take part in the competition however. The riders land move after move, working their way around the tyres and rocks, while the Super Elite riders measure themselves up against an enormous hook. Gilles is the only one to manage it, just as they are called to control to collect their cards and start riding for real. What will no doubt be the hardest competition of the year is under way! The sections are to be ridden in reverse, with a few extra hazards thrown in for good measure, including a huge tree trunk in the middle of section 2. The sections contain every type of hazard there is, including some that you only ever see at UCI trials, such as some big kickers, huge gaps and tech, rocky slopes. One of the highlights is the famous tower section, where a huge crowd has already gathered. Will Gilles Coustellier manage to repeat his exploits of the day before on a course that is perhaps less to his liking? He has a comfortable lead and seems calm enough…

Gilles Coustellier went on to further demonstrate his ability in the final; he continued to dominate, cleaning even the hardest sections, with even the dreaded kickers posing very little trouble - he seems to have got the hang of them now! Gilles dropped two fives, putting his total for the day up to 17 and just 21 for the whole competition. He was majestic thtoughout this first international competition of the season, making only small mistakes and getting through the sections with an amazing consistency and disconcerting ease.

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Vincent Hermance fought well in the second round, once again under the expert guidance of the great Marc Vinco: he didn’t let anything slip and went for even the biggest of moves with maximum concentration and determination. He finished the two laps on just one point less than Gilles, with a total of 37 for the whole competition to take a well-deserved second place and a great start to his season!

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The great Benito Ros that we all know and love didn’t seem to make an appearance this weekend, with the Spaniard racking up mistake after mistake, even if he did manage to get through the biggest hazards. With a total of 64 points on his card, he had to make do with third place once again, in Sunday’s competition and overall.

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Giacomo Coustellier racked up the fives before abandoning the competition altogether.

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The 2010 Elite winner and No. 1 Ozonys rider Guillaume Dunand managed to get through two of the monstrous Super Elite sections to finish fourth in 2011.

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The other Ozonys Super Elite rider Théau Courtès fought like a demon on these sections from hell, managing some of the more difficult passages with aplomb. His winter training alongside the Coustelliers has obviously helped with his progression.

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German Champion Hannes Hermann attempted everything in his path, which resulted in some big crashes. He had come along top rub shoulders with the greats and to test his limits before the main UCI events of the season, and boy, did he test them!

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Italian Francesco Policante, who didn’t ride on Saturday, decided to give Super Elite a go on Sunday. He did not find it easy, especially given that he had spent Saturday night in a Besançon night club!

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