Snowboard Cross elite to open their season in Argentina
A bit more than two weeks after the freestylers have kicked of the 2010 LG Snowboard FIS World Cup season it's time for the Snowboard Cross aces to match in their winter's first race.
On September 11th and 12th, 2009, Chapelco will host the qualifier time trials as well as the final knock out rounds. Four more competitions will follow the first snowboard cross, which takes place almost to the day when the first ever World Cup was held in Argentina last year, in the next months of the Olympic season giving the riders the shot to not only earn World Cup points in the race for the Crystal Globe but also to accomplish the national criterias in order to qualify for Vancouver 2010.
However, the snowboard cross elite won't be able to match on the last year's course. Due to constant rain a few weeks ago a proper running of the race is only possible on a shortened course.
Olympic and World Champions will start in Chapelco
But although the preconditions weren't the best, the world's best athletes have registered to compete; so some of them wrap up their season's preparations in the South America with a top event. The strong starter field is led by 2006 Olympic Champions Tanja Frieden (SUI) and Seth Wescott (USA).
Besides last year's Chapelco winners Lindsey Jacobellis (USA) and Pierre Vaultier (FRA), who celebrates a comeback after a long competition break due to injury, the reigning World Champion Helene Olafsen (NOR) also travelled all the way to Argentina. Her counterpart on the men's side Markus Schairer (AUT), who will try to keep hold on his World Cup title this year, is also back to business after having recovered from his knee injury suffered last season.
Apart from them, Zoe Gillings (GBR) can also play a major role on the women's side as she has proved several times in the past that she is able to enter the early season fit. In addition, the Swiss team has a very strong squad as Mellie Francon, Olivia Nobs and Sandra Frei are all able to jump on the podium. The same for two Canadians: Dominique Maltais and Maelle Ricker will give their best, too; especially 2006 Bronze medallist Maltais as she has still a score to settle with the venue. Last season, the 24-years-old broke her arm in Chapelco.
On the men's side, Canada's riders look back to a very successful season which shall be repeated in 2009/2010. With Mike Robertson, Robert Fagan and Drew Neilson there are at least three guys with good chances for a top result. But US-athletes Nate Holland, Nick Baumgartner and Graham Watanabe are also aiming for Gold. In addition, some Europeans should be on the list of favourites, too. France's Paul-Henri Delerue, David Speiser (GER) and Michal Novotny (CZE) are all fired up for finally compete in enthralling head-to-head duels again.