Whistler, B.C. (CAN). It’s been a long day on the ‘Choker Trail’ at Whistler where the season’s second Giant Slalom of the NOKIA Snowboard FIS World Cup was held today. NOKIA team rider Matthieu Bozzetto from France and Sweden’s Aasa Windahl won the race which was concluded just in time before the light disappeared.
Tremdendous snow falls over the past days have made the slope really soft and for most of the riders the race turned out to be really challenging. Not so Matthieu Bozzetto from France. Last year’s overall World Cup champion had already smoked the course in the first run and with also the fastest time in the second he returned to back to the top. “What can I say? I haven’t done any good so far this season. I was always trying to find out the reason but just could’nt. I finished 10th in Tignes, 4th in Kaprun… today I started to win and it worked perfect, it was really time to make it to the podium again. That’s magic plus I haven’t won a GS for more than two years… I’m really happy.”
Bozzetto also liked to prove why he was selected to join the NOKIA rider team recently. “They might have been a little confused since I could not follow up on the results for which they might have chosen me. I was lucky to prove them right today.”
Stefan Kaltschütz from Austria finished second: “It was really hard today with the lack of visibility and the soft slope… but you simply had to do your best. I’m happy with second place but I really need to catch those French…”
US rider Christopher Klug was the only North American rider on the podium with finishing third. Canadian Jasey Jay Anderson had looked like the winner when he got to the last section in the second run but crashed at the penultimate flag and ended up 24th.
Kaltschütz is now leading the GS World Cup standings with a total of 1800 points ahead of reigning World Champion Markus Ebner from Germany (1160) who finished 7th today and Bozzetto (1036).
The women’s race started by surprise when the number one contender Margherita Parini from Italy crashed and did not qualify for the second run. Also Karine Ruby has been disqualified after missing a gate. So the door was open for others this time and Sweden’s Aasa Windahl used this opportunity to get her first-ever World Cup victory under her belt. “I think it was rough for everybody,” she said, “you had to try to ride smooth and not too aggressive. That’s what I tried to do and I think it worked well. I was nervous before the second run but I tried not to think about it…”Birgit Herbert from Austria finished second (“It was kind of a rodeo ride…”) ahead of her teammate Manuela Riegler.Windahl is now leading the GS World Cup standings ahead of Riegler and Parini.
The Snowboard Cross is scheduled for tomorrow.