German Titov of Russia took first place in the Ice Cross Downhill Riders Cup on Saturday in frozen-cold Moscow, overcoming a groin injury to lead a Russian sweep of the podium in the world's fastest sport on skates.
Titov used his quick starts and flawless run down the track to come out on top in a tight race against three other top Russians nipping at his heels all the way down. Denis Novozhilov was a close second in the race that featured competitors from 14 nations, Dmitriy Murlichkin got third and Vlad Kochukov was fourth as Russian racers took five of the top ten positions.
"I'm super happy that I was able to win this race -- that was my main goal," said Titov, 22, who collected 250 Ice Cross Downhill World Championship points with the victory in the race. "I pulled a groin muscle in the first race and was really nervous but everything worked out well and I'm super happy to take first place. I didn't think I could do it but felt confident after Qualifying. I hope this isn't my last win in Ice Cross Downhill."
It was the fourth time that an Ice Cross Downhill race was staged in Moscow. There have been three Red Bull Crashed Ice races here in the past: in 2002, 2011 and 2014.
The Moscow track was 420 meters long with a 35-meter vertical drop featuring a challenging starting drop, compression rollers, and a tricky wall ride. There were many crashes to the delight of the big crowd braving temperatures of 15 below zero.
In Ice Cross Downhill, athletes race down the obstacle-filled ice track four-at-a-time at speeds of up to 82 km/h. The first two advance to the next round as the field is whittled to a final 4 in the extreme test of stamina, conditioning and exposure to the elements. The Moscow race was the third Riders Cup race of the season and final stop in Europe. There are two more Riders Cup races in Canada.
Results men: 1. German Titov (RUS), 2. Denis Novozhilov (RUS), 3. Dmitriy Murlichkin (RUS), 4. Vlad Kochukov (RUS), 5. Jonas Evaekoski (FIN), 6. Jesse Sauren (FIN), 7. Jack Schram (USA), 8. Mauel Mehli (SUI), 9. Antti Tolvanen (FIN), 10. Andrey Antipov (RUS)