Madonna di Campiglio (ITA). The Snowboard Cross riders faced quite good conditions today at the 13th stage of the 1999/2000 NOKIA Snowboard FIS World Cup in Madonna di Campiglio. “Aussi” Zeke Steggall and Sandra Farmand from Germany won the race at the 2001 World Championships venue.

The course of today’s Snowboard Cross race has been a point of discussion over the past couple of days since the riders judged it to be too flat. Therefore, FIS and the organising committee decided last night that the 2001 World Championships, taking place at Madonna di Campiglio, will be held on a different slope next to the one used for today’s race.

Zeke Steggall from Downunder who had already won a Snowboard Cross this season added another gold to his points list today: “I was really worried after Ischgl,” he said, “because it didn’t go very well at all there. I just wasn’t feeling good because I got bad asthma and my immune system is very low at the moment so I’m happy that I’m still racing. In Australia I could not race half of the summer. It’s so good to be back on top again and I really want to finish on this podium at the end of the season.”

With regard to the course he added: “It did not hurt me that much since I have an alpine background and I’m really heavy. Generally it has just been something different which we never had so we had to adapt to it. A lot of people complained but I think we got to have a bit of everthing. The guys who built the course did the best they could for here.”

Having won at both Schönried and Madonna, Steggall proved to be an allrounder since those two slopes have been completely different: extremely steep the first one and really flat today’s.

Italy’s Simone Malusa surprisingly finished second and looked as if a dream came true. “This is my best result ever,” the 26-year-old from the Aosta valley, “and it’s also the reward after two or three years of hard work.”

US rider Anton Pogue went in third ahead of Austria’s Hermann Maier, the brother of famous alpine skier “Herminator” Hermann Maier.

With today’s win Steggall claimed the yellow leader bib in the Snowboard Cross World Cup and sent Pontus Stahlkloo to second place after the Swede had missed to get any further than the quarter finals and finished 10th today.

Swiss rider Guillaume Nantermod, who was beaten in the first final round and ended up 19th place, dropped back to third in the World Cup.

Germany’s Sandra Farmand claimed her’s and the German Federation’s first-ever victory in Snowboard Cross today. In the final heat she had met Carmen Ranigler from Italy, Austrian Manuela Riegler and Marjorie Rey from France. After Riegler has been in the lead and was kept by an attack of the Italian, Farmand and Rey took their advantage out of it and finished in the top two positions.

“After I had finished fifth last week in Ischgl, Heidi Renoth has sent me a SMS message saying that she was still waiting for the first German Snowboard Cross victory,” she said, “now I got it and I’m really happy. The course was well prepared, I only did not like the flat part. I had a really bad crash in the qualifications and was already thinking about not to start in the finals but I’m glad I did.”

Rey finished second, her best result ever. Manuela Riegler took third place ahead of Ranigler.

Marie Laissus from France who crashed in the semi finals and ended up sixth today is further leading the standings. Her friend and reigning World champion Julie Pomagalski went fifth today and is in second place overall. Ranigler moved up to third ahead of Sandra Farmand.

The Junior snowboard riders travel on to Berchtesgaden for their World Championships next weekend. The World Cup will be continued in Makomanai/Sapporo (Japan) from 18 through 20 February featuring Parallel Giant Slalom, Halfpipe and Snowboard Cross.