55: Oakley’s Brian Lopes Dedicates Fifth Air Downhill Win at Whistler to Sports Marketing Manager’s Ill Son
For Oakley’s Brian Lopes, the number 55 isn’t just any number.
The defending Air DH champion blazed through Whistler Mountain Bike park alongside 381 of the world’s best downhill competitors and emerged victorious with his fifth win at the course. But what made the win count even more special wasn’t the victory itself. It was the fact that Tyler Blick, the son of Oakley Sports Marketing Manager (Mountain Bike) Steve Blick, was celebrating his fifth birthday – after being diagnosed with Leukemia the previous month. Lopes’ fifth win, combined with Blick’s fifth birthday, form Lopes’ lucky number 55.
“So stoked to win my fifth straight A-line downhill race here in Whistler,” said Lopes. “Each year, I’m the one everyone is gunning for so the pressure and eyes are always on me – and it doesn’t get any easier. I wanted to win more than ever this year for my little buddy Tyler Blick. After being diagnosed with Leukemia a month ago and it being his fifth birthday, I just had to win so I could dedicate it to him. I’m just glad I could pull through for him more than anyone.”
New Zealand’s young gun Sam Blenkinsop came flying down the nearly 50-jump trail, clocking in at 4:16.17 and booting Australian Bryn Atkinson from the hot seat. With only DH World Champ Gee Atherton and defending Air DH Champ Lopes left to make their mark, the crowd looked intensely at the giant screen as Gee took the course. But he was unable to beat Blenkinsop’s time.
Upon Leslie Tomlinson’s announcement of Lopes’ arrival at the course, the crowd went quiet, anxiously awaiting his entrance. Lopes came mocking down the GLC drop, peddling furiously to the finish line to continue his reign in the number one spot, claiming his fifth consecutive Air DH title with the fastest time to date of 4:15.69.
Oakley Legend Anne Caro Chausson Returns From Retirement to Claim Victory
In a temporary break from retirement, Oakley legend Anne Caro Chausson stunned the competition, as she was able to hold off current world champ Emmeline Ragot to take the top spot with a time of 4:38.21. Oakley teammate Rachel Atherton took third with a time of 4:41.15.
Full Men’s Results:
1 Brian Lopes (USA|Ibis-Oakley-Marzocchi) 04:15.69
2 Samuel Blenkinsop (NZl|Lapierre International) 04:16.17
3 Gee Atherton (GBr|Commencal)-Oakley 04:18.48
4 Bryn Atkinson (Aus|Transition)-Oakley 04:19.02
5 Fabien Cousini (Fra|Morewood United) 04:19.28