Berchtesgaden (Germany). Continuous rain accompanied the sixth Parallel Slalom of the 2000/2001 Nokia Snowboard FIS World Cup in Berchtesgaden tonight, like yesteday’s Halfpipe held at floodlight. Mathieu Bozzetto from France and US rider Rosey Fletcher claimed the wins.

The day has been pretty nasty on the “Goetschen” all day but thanks to the continuous efforts of the Berchtesgaden organising committee the course for today’s Parallel Slalom was in good shape and both riders and spectators enjoyed exciting head-to-head duels in the night finals.

Mathieu Bozzetto from France, last year’s overall and Parallel World Cup champion, untied the knot with claiming the win after quite a time when he could not follow up on his results from the past season. He knocked out Austria’s Harald Walder and Werner Ebenbauer and then beat Roland Fischnaller from Italy to make the final heat. There he met Austrian rider Dieter Krassnig and opened up the gap by 94 hundrets of a second in the first run. Krassnig pulled it together in the second run and was ahead at the finish but finally had to leave it with Bozzetto by 59 hundrets. “This really feels great,” the French said, “especially since I won with the same aggressive feeling I had last year and never experienced so far this season. It strange: I didn’t understand at all why it worked so easy last year and turned out that difficult now. First I thought it was caused by my knee, then I had to fix a problem with my bindings so I was really looking for the reason. Today I tried to regard the first duel against Walder as a test since he didn’t go too strong and I wanted to know if I could pick up my style from last year. At the end of the first run I felt the aggression again and worked it out from there…”

Dieter Krassnig seemed to be too much impressed by Bozzetto’s recovery and could not overcome this feeling which finally resulted made him take second place. “I have a bit too much respect for Bozzetto,” he stated, “this happened quite a few times before when I was racing against him for first place. I was kind of afraid and put too much power in the first run. It worked much better in the second run when I just wanted to prove my skills and sometimes your rival makes mistakes which he then did but I couldn’t close the gap anymore. Second is fine for me, especially after a bad night with coughing until the early morning…”Roland Fischnaller made it his day with finishing third, his best result ever. Surprisingly he had knocked out World Champion Nicolas Huet from France in the round of 16 and then looked as if there was nothing left to stop him, just until he was sent to the small final for third place by Bozzetto. There, he met Slovenia’s Dejan Kosir and could beat him to claim the bronze. “I just can’t believe it,” the Italian said, “I was training hard and the material was good ¿ maybe that’s why but I also liked the slope a lot. When I won over Huet I thought a podium spot might be possible but you never know so I’m glad I made it.”

With today’s win Bozzetto also claimed the lead in the Parallel World Cup with Huet dropping back to second place and Kosir pulling third.

US rider Rosey Fletcher took the win in the womens’ race, her third this season. She had met Doris Guenther in the final duel and the Austrian who had never advanced that far could win the first run by 32 hundrets of a second but crashing in the second run Fletcher finally triumphed. “The key for me today was just to do my own race,” she said. “Every run I took was difficult and every girl rode well today. You should never underestimate anybody ¿ I’ve learned that lesson the hard way many times… I don’t know if that was the key today but I think it is really important just to race your own race. The course held up very well considering the warm temperatures and the rain so it was really exciting and a lot of fun.”

Doris Guenther made a similar experience as Roland Fischnaller when she knocked outt World Champion Karine Ruby in the round of 16 and then won over Sweden’s Sara Fischer and Swiss rider Milena Meisser. “I knew that I was could do it,” she said, “I just needed to get it down and this worked a couple of times in a row today so I’m really happy. In theory it wasn’t that big thing since I knew my skills but I have always been nervous and when I could beat Karine I became confident, wasn’t nervous anymore and had a lot of fun riding.”

Marion Posch from Italy finished third ahead of Meisser. “I’m happy with third,” she said, “Slalom has always been my favourite but I was missing the good results there so far this season so I’m glad I could prove again that I’m a slalom specialist usually.”

Karine Ruby went in ninth place finally but still keeps the lead in the Parallel standings. Fletcher moved up to second place while Italy’s Carmen Ranigler dropped back to third.

A second Halfpipe contest will be held tomorrow.