Whistler, B.C. (Canada). It has been a great day for the Snowboard Cross riders to hold their second race of the 2000/2001 Nokia Snowboard FIS World Cup today at Whistler, Canada. Germany’s Sandra Farmand and Pontus Stahlkloo from Sweden claimed the gold in exciting head-to-head racing.
Last year’s Snowboard Cross World Cup champion Pontus Stahlkloo from Sweden, fourth after the qualification, won the heats in both the round of eight and the quarter-finals, but in the semi-finals he could not close the gap to Canada’s Jasey Jay Anderson who looked really strong today. With both advancing to the finals the Swede had the chance to take revenge and finally won ahead of the Canadian. “This was a really fast course and especially fit those with hard boots,” Stahlkloo said, “out of the top 15 from the qualification I was one out of two using soft boots but however I managed to win so I’m really happy. Usually a good start is 90 percent of a race and especially with Jasey in the same race that’s essential ¿ he is really fast ¿ so I had to win the start and then try to keep him behind when he wanted to overtake. I’m glad it worked.”
Anderson, fastest after in the qualification already won all final heats, except for the last one when he had to leave it with the Swede. “I was riding really well today,” he said, “and I knew I was going to do well but in the finals it’s anybody’s game. Usually it’s the best start that wins ¿ like I did last year in Park City ¿ here it was less of a start issue but the advantage definitely was there. This course was definitely built for me ¿ too bad I couldn’t prove it. Pontus is a good rider and he knew where to keep me off so he took the advantage.”
Germany’s Sven Unger just appears on the tour for the first time this season. He already surprised everyone at the season opener in Tignes when he was the 60th to start, ended up second in the qualifications and finally finished sixth place. Pulling third today he proved that Tignes wasn’t just a one time happening. “I just can’t believe it,” he said, “just one and a half year ago I injured me heel in a Boardercross at the US Open and had to take a break for one year but it looks like it’s working all right again. I really liked the course today since it had a lot of nice banks in perfect shape and you could just get straight from one to the other without losing speed, the jumps have been all right ¿ not too big, but just fast ¿ it has been great. In the very last run I just had the outside lane and the longest distance to the first gate but all the others are excellent riders and considering I’m just coming in now it feels great to finish third.”
Felix Stadler from Austria pulled fourth and was fine: “My goal was top ten today, so I’m really happy with this ¿ it was so much fun,” he stated.With today’s win Stahlkloo claimed the lead in the World Cup. Joni Vastamäki from Finland who finished 12th today, dropped back to second ahead of Unger.
Germany’s Sandra Farmand, Snowboard Cross World Cup champion 2000 just made it her race today with dominating the entire finals and finally won. “You really had to be in front today from the very beginning. The course was really fast so it would have been tough to even try to overtake but I had pretty good starts all day long so it worked all right. Originally I was planning to do Halfpipe tomorrow but with also Sven claiming a podium we need to party a bit ¿ it has been some time that the team had such results….”
Ursula Fingerlos from Austria came in second. “It has not been easy today,” she said, “there were so many good riders at the start and I always had some problems at the start but it was so much fun racing ¿ I’m glad I finished second.” Marie Laissus from France pulled third ahead of Italy’s Carmen Ranigler.Farmand is now leading the SBX standings ahead of Karine Ruby from France who finished fifth today and Fingerlos.
The Halffpipe riders will pass their qualification tomorrow while the finals are scheduled for Sunday.