Night Snowboard Cross race in Bad Gastein, Austria

In the only Snowboard Cross race of the 2009 Snowboard FIS World Cup, which is staged under floodlight, Sandra Frei (SUI) and Xavier Delerue (FRA) were able to successfully compete against their contenders coming from 24 countries.

Sandra Frei.  Coypright: FIS, Oliver KrausIn front of almost 4,000 spectators, the Swiss World Cup leader just picked up where she left off in Arosa last year – winning the race. However, in the finals, the 25-year-old benefited from a crash of Lindsey Jacobellis (USA) and Maelle Ricker (CAN) who finished in the end as third and fourth respectively. France’s Deborah Anthonioz came in second. On the men’s side, Xavier Delerue once again underlined his outstanding riding skills. Neither second ranked Czech Michal Novotny nor Nate Holland (USA) who rounded out the podium as third or surprising fourth Konstantin Schad from Germany were able to threaten the eleventh World Cup win of the reigning World Champion.

And this despite the fact that the father of a family travelled to Bad Gastein with a lack of competition experience. It was just the fifth contest for 29-year-old after the Olympic Winter Games in Torino: “It was as hard to win as in the earlier days. I wasn’t feeling that comfortable today after my patchy qualification result. I didn’t thought of me as a favourite for victory. But it’s good. It’s great to win.” Especially if the race is staged under 100,000 Watt floodlight: “Ever since, Bad Gastein is a very special place to be, but especially this year as the course is super good. Intense, but perfect!”

Michal Novotny, who celebrated his career’s second World Cup podium result, went even the extra mile: “Well, I’m actually really surprised about this result as I didn’t get along with the course. Actually, I was scared of it in the beginning so I did a lot of speed checking.” Nate Holland was also glad “to stay on my feet after this race.”  However, the US-American thinks that “I’m on schedule” after he had earned his career’s ninth World Cup podium: “It usually takes some time until I get into the season. I guess I traditionally get better in January. So, today’s race for sure was a confidence builder – also for the up-coming World Championships in Korea.”

Sandra Frei seems to take over the role as main aspirant for World Championships Gold

On the ladies side, the confidence of Sandra Frei should be more than just strong as the 2007 World Championships runner-up took home victory number three within the last four World Cup races. However, the Swiss rider knew that she was favoured by fortune in the finals. “But having the lucky end is part of snowboarding, too. I had a pretty bad start but ended up way to fast right before the first steep bank. So I took it slowly trying to avoid a crash. Well, I guess this is what the others then did”, said the back-to-back winner from Flims all smiles.

Konstantin Schad was also favoured by fortune at his second Snowboard Cross finals participation: “I was the lucky one in my pretty strong eighth final but then simply floored it. I’m more than happy as the qualifiers and the head-to-head duels are two totally different disciplines. And I for sure prefer the heats racing against three other guys.

Manuela Riegler ganz vorne.  Copyright: FIS - Oliver Kraus
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Winners at Kreischberg.  Copyright: FIS - Oliver Kraus
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