Many people thought Sam would win at Schladming and were saying so all over the internet for weeks, it’s just they were talking about the other Sam, Mr Hill. When the laid back Kiwi called Blinky by most, ran the fastest time in the timed training session, and then again in the semis, people were starting to re-think which Sam would be on top.
By his own admission, Sam Blenkinsop could ride each and every weekend in Schladming, it’s his favourite track of the year by far, but that doesn’t take anything away from an amazing 2nd year elite season which also saw a World Cup podium debut back in Andorra at Round 2, as well as a bunch of top ten results. His win in Schladming catapulted him to 5th overall for the season. When you look at who stood below him on the Schladming race podium; Minnaar, Peaty, Gee and the other Sam, well it’s pretty impressive company; these are the 5 men of 2008.
Sam’s win was also the first time in 18 seasons of World Cup racing, that the New Zealand national anthem got played, prompting long time XC racer Kashi Leuchs to come and find Blinky after the race and thank him personally.
Sam: “It’s pretty sick, this track is the best ever, and I can’t really believe I’ve done this. My run was as loose as, but the bike was amazing, there’s no better bike for a track like this, it just soaks up everything. Can’t wait for next season!”.
Naomi Bradfield singing the NZ national anthem. Will this be a common tune next season?
E Ihowā Atua – NZ national anthem
E Ihowa Atua,
(Oh Lord, God)
O ngä iwi mätou rä,
(Of nations and of us too)
(Listen to us)
Me aroha noa
Kia hua ko te pai;
(Let goodness) flourish,
Kia tau tö atawhai;
(May your blessings flow)