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YVÄSKYLÄ-LAAJIS, Finland – The biggest, heaviest and meanest men of the #icecrossdownhillworldchampionship could hardly believe their luck after training on the longest and toughest downhill ice track ever built for this weekend’s racing in ice-cold Jyväskylä. Big, heavy, powerful racers like Fabian Mels (GER), Shayne Renaud (CAN), Kilian Braun (SUI) and Paavo Klintrup (FIN) said they expect to do well on the 630-meter-long track built onto a mountain at the Laajis ski resort.
“It’s a great track for someone like me with long legs and weight,” said Mels, who weighs 90 kg and whose 1.90 meters’ height makes him the tallest in the world’s fastest #sport on skates. “On a long track like this, there are lots of opportunities to pass people and do a lot of damage out there. Everyone gets excited about a long track like this. It’s always more interesting for the racers and spectators when so many things can happen out there.”
Mels, whose best result this season was 11th in Munich and is 15th overall, got the best result of his career, second place, at the 2012 #redbullcrashedice race in Valkenburg in Holland, which was held on one of the longest track before Jyväskylä – a 575-meter track. “I dominated the race in Valkenburg, won all my heats and was in the lead in the final when I tripped and ended up second (to Kyle Croxall). It’s really cool to have a super long track like this again.”
Finland’s Paavo Klintrup’s eyes also light up when asked about the track in his home country. “I like this track because it’s got a good flow and you don’t lose your speed at any point. So you don’t have to regain your speed with skating so that’s good for me,” said Klintrup, who is the most successful Finnish racer this year in ninth place overall. He also had one of the best results of his career in Valkenburg in 2012 – third place. “I’m trying to be consistent,” he said.
Klintrup, a policeman from a small town four hours north of the race venue, has another advantage: he got to train on the track for several days ago despite frigid temperatures of 35 degrees below zero Celsius. “It’s really, really long. It’s going to be a rough race,” said Klintrup, who is the epitome of Finland’s “sisu” – remaining stoic in difficult conditions. “Training last week was good but it was so cold and that made it difficult.”
Another heavier rider having a strong season, Renaud of Canada, said he was also looking forward to the #redbullcrashedice race in Finland after getting a strong second place behind Scott Croxall in the Riders Cup race at Rautalampi, Finland last week and taking fourth at the Riders Cup race in Wagrain-Kleinarl in December.
“It’s a good track for me because there’s a lot of downhill sections and I’m a heavier guy and this track helps heavier guys,” said Renaud, a 26-year-civil engineer from Montreal who weighs 88 kg and stands 1.80 meters tall. “That’s what I’m good at: downhill.” Renaud has taken the #sport by storm this season and is in 16th place overall. He said that training hard last summer with Dean and Dylan Moriarity in Montreal helped get him in top shape in this, his third season in the #sport.
WATCH IT LIVE: Red Bull Crashed Ice Jyväskylä-Laajis will be live on redbullcrashedice.com and Red Bull TV at 7:15pm CET on January 30. Red Bull TV is available on connected TVs, gaming consoles, mobile devices and more. For a full list of supported devices, visit about.redbull.tv.”
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