http://mpora.com/videos/conMQkRLH Thankfully information is leaking through the Great Firewall of China and we can bring you who'll be facing off against who in the first round of tomorrows 6-Star TTR Oakley Air&Style.
The show is scheduled to go down between 12.30 and 1400 CET and for those of you who can't watch it live, or who just want to know what we're making of it all, we'll hopefully be doing a live Minute-By-Minute blog of what's going down. (Disclaimer - MBM dependent on technical logistics, staffing issues, and amount of powder on the local mountain.)
Here's how the first round of face-offs is gonna go down...
1 - Marco Grilc vs. Mikkel Bang
2 - Peetu Piroiinen vs. Haldor Helgasson
3 - Andreas Wiig vs. Scotty Lago
4 - Werner Stock vs. Stale Sandbech
5 - Elias Elhardt vs. Kazuhiro Kokubo
6 - Markus Malin vs. Seb Toutant
7 - Gjermund Braaten vs. Seppe Smits
8 - Janne Korpi vs. Eric Willett
Who do you reckon will make it through? Calling those 8 rounds of potential snowboarding El Clásicos is a tough call, but seeing as we put it out there we'll give you our predictions...
1 - Grilo won the Innnsbruck gig last year with a couple of regular and switch double 10s; Bang bagged 2nd as a rookie in 2007 and is one of the few riders who can make switch back 12s look good... We're thinking there'll be a lot of people doing double backside 10s, so if he can put the switch back 12 down we'll go with Mikkel Bang.
2 - Peetu is the reigning TTR World Tour Champ after slaying it consistently last season, but Halldor won the X-Games Big Air with a perfect score. Again, tough to call but we reckon Halldor Helgason will take this one.
3 - Andreas has some hammers in his bag for sure, but after seeing Lago's second or third try switch double backside rodeo 10 in the Smith webisode yesterday, we'd have to say Scotty Lago for this tie.
4 - Damn, this is hard. Staale's deservedly got some hype around him right now and we gave him an interview. But we know Werni's got the bang bangs on lock too and we saw him working on the switch back 12. Jeez, why'd we do this? Ok, we're guessing Staale will be the punters' favourite in this heat so we'll back Werni Stock to get the better odds.
5 - Elias can put down the double cork back 10 like clockwork and comes in on a high from winning the Pleasure Jam, but will he have enough if Kazu turns it up to 12? Kazu doesn't seem shy of putting it all on the line and if for nothing else he deserves our support due to his sterling 'controversy' at the Olympics. Kazuhiro Kokubo for this heat.
6 - Markus has some mad skills to be sure, but we're gonna have to go with Seb Toutant in this round. He does those Tootsie Roll 12s of his just a bit too well, and after a summer of airbagging down under we reckon he could have more in the can if the shit hits the fan.
7 - Awesome as it is for a flatlander to get in this gig, we have to say that after witnessing the stompers he put down to win Freestyle.CH, we're backing Gjermund Braaten to get through here. Ain't no messing with that back 12 double of his.
8 - Janne is super consistent and a seasoned competitor, but that young buck Willett has really impressed since he burst on the scene. If the occasion gets to him it could be a different story, but our money's on Eric Willett to nudge his way past the Finn and into the next round.
Shoot, that was frickin' tough. Well, we'll see how right or wrong our calls are tomorrow from 12. Looking forward to this bad boy...