Ischgl (AUT). The sun had returned to Ischgl, Austria, where the fifth Snowboard Cross race of the 1999/2000 NOKIA Snowboard FIS World Cup was held today. NOKIA World Team riders Guillaume Nantermod from Switzerland and Austrian Ursula Fingerlos claimed the gold in exciting head-to-head racing.
Pure sunshine all day and temperatures around plus five degrees centigrate made everyone enjoy the race on the Idaple today. Racing his first season on the tour, Swiss rider Guillaume Nantermod had already made it to the podium with a second place in Whistler. Although having finished seventh in today’s qualification only he looked really strong in the finals and made it to the heat for the top four spots where he met “Aussi” John Fletcher, Thomas Ligonnet from France and Canadian Mathieu Morency. The latter mentioned took the lead right after the start but then crashed and could not make it up until the finish line. Nantermod used the opportunity, took the lead and could defend it all the way down to finally get his first World Cup victory under his belt. “My first win, I’m so glad,” he said, “it has been a really nice course with pretty good turns, the weather was great so everything was in place for a perfect race. I was second right after the start but from my experience it’s always better to be a bit patient before trying to pass anyone and I was proven right to wait. I hope I can keep on, it’s like a mechanism: as soon as you got it once you get more confidence. I didn’t have any good results in the alpine disciplines so far but I hope I can also work it out there shortly.” And he added: “I want to dedicate this win to my friend Daniel Lötscher who died two weeks ago.” 18-year-old John Fletcher from Downunder finished second and almost could not believe it. “I have no idea how I got it,” he said, smiling. “This is my first year in the World Cup and my best results so far have been in the twenties, so second place was kind of a shock…” Ligonnet went in third place for the second time in a row, Morency finished fourth.Pontus Stahlkloo from Sweden took the lead in the World Cup standings although he could not get any further than the quarter finals today. Nantermod moved up to second ahead of Sylvian Duclos from France who has not been at the start today.
Austria’s Ursula Fingerlos completed the season’s third double victory for the NOKIA World Team. With her second SBX win this season last year’s Snowboard Cross World Cup champion proved her skills again and is continuously moving back to the top after a bad start into the 1999/2000 season. “It was a very difficult course with a lot of turns and jumps,” she said, “a very narrow one and there have been a lot of really good riders. I had crashed during the training and did not want this to happen again today so I tried to get a good position right after the start today and keep it. Carmen (Ranigler, ITA) passed me half way down but then she crashed. It really was a hard race today but it was so nice that the Austrian team has been that successful here.” Reigning World Champion Julie Pomagalski from France finished second ahead of her teammate Aurelie Tible and Ranigler.France’s Marie Laissus still keeps the lead in the World Cup standings although she dropped out in the quarter finals today. Fingerlos is in second ahead of Pomagalski.
The next Snowboard Cross race will be held at Madonna di Campiglio (ITA) on Wednesday, 09 February.