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 . world ski news
15 March 2010 - 13:29
Lindsey Jacobellis and Alex Pullin victorious in season’s second to last snowboard cross
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SNOWBOARD, WORLD CUP. Lindsey Jacobellis (USA) and Alex Pullin (AUS) have won the second to last snowboard cross race of the 2010 LG Snowboard FIS World Cup. In the ladies' final, the fifth ranked rider of the 2010 Olympics edged off Vancouver Gold medallist Maelle Ricker (CAN) and her team mate Dominique Maltais to the second and third rank respectively. Reigning World Champion Helene Olafsen (NOR) came in fourth.

On the men's side of things, an Aussie claimed victory for the second time in the snowboard cross World Cup history. While racing to his first ever triumph, Alex Pullin successfully competed against Austria's Marion Fuchs and Mateusz Ligocki (POL) on the tough course in Valmalenco which was peppered with many big jumps and several technical features. Italy's Alberto Schiavon had to settle for fourth at his home turf contest.

It was a bitter pill for the experienced rider from Italy as the men's finals was a very close decision. After several passing manoeuvres behind of Alex Pullin, who got the hole shot, the Australian, Fuchs and Schiavon came right behind of each other out of the last turn and headed for the final jump.

While everyone was fighting for his position, all of the sudden, there was no space left anymore: Schiavon and Fuchs crashed - the Italian unfortunately went over the b-netting and thus out of the top-3.

"We were three guys all within half a metre," commented Salzburg country side resident Mario Fuchs. "There was nothing we could have done to avoid this. We both flew off - with the better ending for me. I landed on the slope and was able to bring home my first ever runner-up finish. That was missing in my collection. It's a satisfaction after the disappointing Olympics," the 33-years-old added.

Redemption for Pullin

It was a similar payback-situation for Pullin who had to burry all of his Olympic hopes at the last Winter Games when the best qualifier of Vancouver crashed down in the leading position of his eighth finals. "It was a long way from Vancouver for me. The whole last month I was thinking ‘I have to win this'. It's redemption."

The rider from down under thus seemed to give everything in order to live down the Vancouver experience. Pullin won the start in every heat and crossed the finish line every time first - except of his eighth final. "I'm so happy about my current riding and I hope that I can take the momentum to the next years," the 22-years-old, who also entertains the snowboard cross circuit with some guitar solos from time to time, said.

World Cup preliminary on the ladies side

On the ladies' side of things, the top-4 of today also offered some enthralling head-to-head-fights in the final which in the end Lindsey Jacobellis clinched. In the bank-to-bank combination of the second to last section, the US girl passed Ricker thus bringing home her career's 21st World Cup victory. "I knew that I couldn't get her (Maelle Ricker) at the start," she explained. "So, I used the semi finals in order to analyse her and find out where I could get her. It was a close course with not much room left but I made it."

True to the motto "I rather crash and go for it but I tried it" the 2006 Olympic runner-up passed her rival and kept it all together. According to this, the 24-years-old was all smiles: "I come from a very competitive family. So, every competition I'm in I want to win. I'm happy that I made it."

Although she missed the chance to her season's fourth win, Maelle Ricker was also very pleased with the result. "I enjoyed the race and the good conditions," she said. "I'm just happy that I was finally back on the board after almost one month of no riding." Canada's reigning Olympic champion also analysed that "I got off-rhythm in the roller section which you shouldn't in a heat like this."

Due to her runner-up finish it also seems that Ricker will bring home the Crystal Globe. The 31-years-old currently sits in first with 4,760 points and a massive lead over second ranked Helene Olafsen (3,550). So, despite the mandatory cut-of result after seven races and with a shape like this, the Squamish, B.C., resident should also earn the SBX World Cup title - with only one last race to come next week in La Molina (ESP). On the men's side, Pierre Vaultier (FRA), who finished 16th in Valmalenco, already had secured the Globe prior today's race.
12 March 2010

Parallel World Cup leaders Nicolien Sauerbreij and Benjamin Karl triumph in Valmalenco

The two Parallel World Cup leaders Nicolien Sauerbreij (NED) and Benjamin Karl (AUT) have underlined their impressive form of this season by winning the seventh parallel giant slalom of the 2010 LG Snowboard FIS World Cup. The reigning Olympic champion secured her second win of this winter in Valmalenco by relegating French Nathalie Desmares with a tiny lead of only 0.07 seconds to second. In the Austrian battle for third, Doris Guenther crossed the finish line ahead of Claudia Riegler thus keeping her chance of grabbing the World Cup title. With only one race to go at the World Cup finals in La Molina (ESP), Guenther (4,310) is still within reach of Sauerbreij (4,800).

On the men's side of things, Benjamin Karl already clinched the Parallel and Overall World Cup title due to today's victory (6,600). The Olympic runner-up defeated Slovenia's Rok Flander in the final of the second to last parallel race of this winter. Jasey Jay Anderson (CAN) rounded out the podium as third. Simon Schoch from Switzerland came in fourth.

At his season's third World Cup win, Karl indeed took advantage of a riding mistake of his rival in the final: "Rok (Flander) was super fast, maybe the best rider out there today. I knew I had to give everything but also had the luck on my side - this time." The 24-years-old Austrian thus drove at his own race decisive mistakes done in the last three finals (including the Olympics).

Rok Flander stated: "I wanted too much and went too straight towards one gate. Unfortunately I found out in the second run that I shouldn't have risked that much. But it's good to be on the podium again and thus make this season wrap up in a propitiate way."

Second coup for Karl after 2008

In contrary, the season is and was perfect for Karl. However, the final against Flander wasn't the main act on his way to bringing home his second small and big Crystal Globe after 2008. The quarter final against his friend and team mate Andreas Prommegger was the decisive match up as he was the only one being able to contest him for the parallel title.

According to this, the newly minted title holder was all smiles after his gala display in which he also eliminated Canada's Michael Lambert (eighth finals) and Olympic champion Jasey Jay Anderson (semi finals): "It's such a great day, just unbelievable. I have both Globes. I'm so stoked," Karl said.

Decision adjourned in the ladies' race for the World Cup titles

In contrary, the ladies have to wait until the World Cup finals in order to find out who will take home the Parallel and the Overall World Cup title. In the race discipline, Nicolien Sauerbreij now has extended her former 90 points lead in a comfortable one of 490 points over Doris Guenther. However, in the battle for the Overall title, Maelle Ricker (CAN) also plays a major role sitting in second only 40 points behind (4,760).

So, Sauerbreij was right by stating: "It's all up in the air. So many things can happen in the last race. La Molina will bring the showdown." Today's winner thus will use the next days to rest a bit as she got more and more exhausted throughout the day. "I'm so tired. I had only one day to relax after the Olympics. I definitely noticed that today," the 2010 Vancouver Gold medallist said.

By a close shave, Nathalie Desmares almost passed the 30-years-old right in front of the finish line. But in the end, the French still has to wait for her first World Cup win and had to settle for her sixth podium result in 13 years of World Cup racing. "The work of the last years paid off this season. It was important for me to see that it's worth it. And it was as I placed third in Stoneham and second today. Now I can go on," the 37-years-old commented not disappointed at all.
12 March 20103

Holly Crawford and Michal Ligocki triumph in Valmalenco’s halfpipe

Holly Crawford (AUS) and Michal Ligocki (POL) claimed victory in a halfpipe contest held today in Valmalenco, Italy. In the second to last halfpipe competition of the 2010 LG Snowboard FIS World Cup, the Australian successfully competed in the ladies' final earning 40.4 points thus celebrating her career's second victory after Furano, Japan, 2007. Ursina Haller (SUI, 37.5) and Mercedes Nicoll (CAN, 37.1) rounded out the podium as second and third respectively.

On the men's side of things, Michal Ligocki made history with his career's first win by becoming the first Polish male rider to claim victory in a halfpipe World Cup event. By scoring 40.7 points he relegated Roger Kleivdal (NOR, 37.2) to second and Switzerland's Patrick Burgener (37.0) to third. Fourth ranked Canadian Justin Lamoureux (34.8) took over the World Cup lead with only one halfpipe contest to come at the World Cup finals in La Molina, Spain, next weekend.

With today's triumph, Michal Ligocki also followed in his families' footsteps, in many respects: His cousin Paulina Ligocka became the first ever Polish lady to win a halfpipe World Cup in Leysin, 2006. In 2008, his older brother Mateusz also celebrated his first ever World Cup win in a snowboard cross race held in Valmalenco. And two years later, at the same venue, the writing was on the wall for Michal Ligocki what educed the spontaneous words "I love Valmalenco" from him.

A dream come true for Ligocki

However, the victory was a big surprise for Ligocki as he had made it to the finals only once (Serre Chevalier 2003) in 55 World Cup starts before. Due to this, the best result to his belt was an eighth rank. But due to a high and very clean executed winning run consisting of "backside air", "frontside 900", "backside 900", "frontside 720" and a "cab 720" to finish things off, the two-time Olympian finally got the knack. "A dream came true today. I think all the pressure from the Olympics was gone so I was able to concentrate on my riding and didn't have to think of a good result. It's great. I guess I will party the next days," the 24-years-old said.
Roger Kleivdal who achieved his first ever podium as runner-up today was also all smiles; especially as the second best qualifier - after having bailed in the first run of the final - was able to land a nice trick series in the second run of the finals. The Norwegian sticked a "frontside 720", "haakon flip", "frontside air" as well as "back-to-back 900's". I was pretty nervous as I wanted to do good in one of the last contests of the season. I'm happy that I landed my run in the finals after I easily did it several times in the practise sessions. It's nice that this also earned me a podium result."

Best qualifiers dominate the ladies' final

Unlike the men's competition where the eighth ranked rider of the qualification was able to succeed, the top ladies of the qualifiers were able to put their stamp on the finals - however, with reversed ranking order. In the end, Holly Crawford celebrated due to her big air time while sticking "lien air", "backside air", "frontside 540", "japan air" and "frontside 720" before wrapping off her run with a "cab 360". "It's great. I guess I do better when contests are chilly and relaxed," the 26-years-old Olympian who had placed eighth in Vancouver said.

Her career's second triumph was also the second win for her home country Australia throughout the World Cup weekend in Valmalenco. Two days ago, Alex Pullin had clinched his first ever snowboard cross victory; a fact which Crawford commented with a twinkle in her eye: "It seems that we are doing well if no coach is around."

Ursina Haller was also satisfied with her first ever podium; especially as she was able to showcase her true riding skills in a World Cup contest for the first time: "So far I wasn't very successful in the FIS World Cup. I'm happy that I made it today. It was some nice riding today and if good things come out of it, it's even better," the 24-years-old stated after having landed "frontside air", "backside 540", "frontside 540", "backside air" and "frontside 720".

Next week, from March 18th through 21st, 2010, the first ever World Cup finals to be held in Spain will be staged. The final decisions in snowboard cross, halfpipe and parallel giant slalom will be held in La Molina.
14 March 2010

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Exciting Alpine finals in Garmisch-Partenkirchen - large globes for Vonn and Janka – 19 March 2010 - 16:28
Ammann und Malysz fast gleichauf – 19 March 2010 - 20:52
Olafsen and Vaultier victorious in season’s last snowboard cross – 19 March 2010 - 20:52
Ammann wins next title – 20 March 2010 - 14:31
Nissan Xtreme by Swatch Verbier 2010: Women Freeride World Champions Crowned – 20 March 2010 - 20:41

Czech Republic wins team event at World Cup finals in Gramish – 14 March 2010 - 13:28
Marlies SCHILD NO1, RIESCH with the cup in Garmish – 13 March 2010 - 15:36
Fantastic final in the slalom's World Cup – 13 March 2010 - 15:00
1st European X-Games underway – 12 March 2010 - 16:09
Janka NO1 – 12 March 2010 - 13:49

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