Kronplatz/Olang (Italy). Perfect conditions again at the Kronplatz when the seventh Snowboard Cross as part of the 2000/2001 Nokia Snowboard FIS World Cup was held today. Jasey Jay Anderson and Maelle Ricker claimed the gold and got the Canadian team a double.
The conditions could have hardly been any better ¿ beautiful sunshine all day, minus five degrees centigrate and a nice course that fit alpine and freestyle riders alike. Jasey Jay Anderson made it a hattrick with this third Snowboard Cross win in a row today. Second after the qualifications he took the lead in every run in the finals, similar to the two previous races, and looked safe all the way through. “There is a good compliment for both ¿ alpine and freestyle ¿ on this course,” he said, “it was good for alpine for sure but right off that first jump I went so far, so flat every time… I was lucky that I havn’t blown my shins apart ¿ that was definitely an advantage for soft booters, but I worked the hell out of it and just let it go. It was hard they put the working staff at the top so by the middle you were completely burned. At the bottom it was pretty pretty easy but you still had to be on it and then right at the finish they drew a big kicker, which was fun, but you got to stay and it also kept you on to the finish.”
French rider Guillaume Sachot finished second, his best result ever on the tour. “I’m really happy,” he said, “and it’s just perfect with regard to the World Championships coming up in just a couple of days, it motivates a lot for that one. I just improved all the time and got more and more top ten finishes in Snowboard Cross so second is just great. This course was better then others we had so far this season, good carving and nice jumps. It really was run racing today with such a nice slope and the perfect conditions.”
“Aussi” Zeke Steggall and US rider Scott Wescott have been the other two in the final and were switching second and third place behind Anderson in the upper part right after the start but then they both crashed at the same spot. Steggall was the one to finally make it up again for third place, his first podium after his bad crash at last season’s finals, so he was looked happy. “I was coming second there and wished I could cut the corner,” he said, “That would have been the way to speed that turn but we both fell and my binding turned also. It it was a bit of a race for third spot but I’m over the moon to get to the podium.”
Pontus Stahlkloo from Sweden was the unlucky bird again when he missed a gate in the semi finals and finally made it to fifth place by winning the small final. However, he keeps the lead in the standings ahead of Anderson and Sachot.
Maelle Ricker from Canada contributed to the Candian success by winning the womens’ race. It was her second Snowboard Cross victory on the FIS circuit after Whistler in 1999. “It feels great,” she said, “and it’s a really sweet victory because two years ago I blew out my knee here so I had a revenge on this course today. I was pretty nervous for that reason but I’m glad I worked it out, especially because it wasn’t really my style of course but I still went for it and had a good time. I like big air so it’s a shame that they cut the jump after the start but it still was a lot of fun.”
German rider Sandra Farmand and Marie Laissus from France made it heartbeat finish for second place and only video control could finally confirm Farmand for second place. “After a really bad crash in yesterday’s training I didn’t believe I was able to race today,” she said. “I didn’t feel weel and felt tired in my legs but then my riding improved from run to run. I’m super happy since I didn’t expect it to work that good. It was tight at the finish but I just reduced the speed too much prior to the last jump and Marie just took some more risk. I’m glad I had this little bit of luck finally.”
Laissus took third place. “I was playing milimeters at the finish,” she said, “but it was really exciting. This is my second podium this season and this gives me self confidence to attack at the World Championships. The bumps were pretty tough and it was hard to keep the rhythm but I worked it out and it feels great.”
Karine Ruby from France could defend the yellow leader bib although she missed to make it to the finals and finished fifth today. Farmand is still sitting in second ahead of Laissus.
The riders head on to Madonna di Campiglio, Italy, now where the World Championships will take place from 21 through 28 January.