SBX World Cup leaders also triumph in Stoneham

After they already claimed victory a few days ago on the 2010 Olympic course at Cypress, Lindsey Jacobellis (USA) and Markus Schairer (AUT) also secured Gold at Stoneham and thus extended their Snowboard Cross World Cup lead.

Winner Lindsey Jacobellis.  Copyright: FIS - Oliver KrausIn the sixth SBX race of the current season of the Snowboard FIS World Cup, the US-American successfully competed against Mellie Francon (SUI), Maelle Ricker (CAN) and Zoe Gillings (GBR) who came in second, third and fourth respectively. On the men’s side, the reigning World Champion from Austria secured his back-to-back win against Jonathan Cheever and Seth Wescott from the USA and Canada’s Robert Fagan who finished fourth.

However, before Schairer crossed the finish line first it definitely didn’t looked like another win for the Austrian rider as Robert Fagan took off for a wire-to-wire in the men’s final. Fagan also had dominated the qualifiers posting the best time and won his quarter and semi final. But on the way to his first ever World Cup triumph, the 32-year-old Canadian screwed up the second-to-last hip jump opening the door to Schairer’s second win in a row. “I’m so disappointed as I was nicely in the lead” stated Fagan after the final. “I skied out that hip jump and couldn’t hold it. I was feeling super good and went for it. I completely screwed it up. I should have ridden smarter” added Fagan after he had missed his career’s third World Cup podium.

Thus, one man’s poison was another man’s meat as like in Cypress last week, Markus Schairer was the one who once again was able to benefit the most from a mistake of one of his competitors. Especially as his “batteries were all empty before the start of the finals.” This became obvious after the very last heat of the day had taken off when the World Cup leader (4.160 points) entered the first roller section in fourth position. “But then I passed Seth (Wescott) in the first bank and Jonathan (Cheever) in the second turn. I would have been more than just OK with the second rank but now I’m super happy with even more points to defend my World Cup lead” 21-year-old Schairer said.

On the ladies’ side, the winner was the same as last year. But Lindsey Jacobellis not only celebrated a re-peat of her 2008 triumph at the same venue. The 23-year-old Stratton resident also won her third consecutive World Cup race, her fourth in the current season. Like Schairer, Jacobellis also enjoyed the rub of the green as in the finals Maelle Ricker couldn’t suck one of the rollers in the top part of the course so the 2006 Olympic Silver medallist passed her together with Mellie Francon. “I didn’t had a great start but was in the lead from turn one on. >From there on, I was trying to keep my line and stay on my feet. It totally worked out for me, especially as I didn’t get along with the course so well.”

Despite her bad luck right in the beginning of the final heat, Maelle Ricker was pretty satisfied with the result and not disappointed at all. After placing on the podium for the second time this season, which turned out to be a bummer for her so far with fourth and fifth spot finishes including a fourth rank at the last World Championships, the Squamish resident said: “I’m just happy although I gave away a better result at the roller section.”

Mellie Francon, who had also benefited from Ricker’s mistake and thereafter consistently attacked leading US girl Jacobellis said: “It was a very close and thus nice race. I tried everything to catch up and pass her (Jacobellis) but I couldn’t do so. I’m pleased with the result although I would prefer to win.”

Jonathan Cheever who placed also second was glad of being able to please his own expectations as he had “expected to finally make it on the podium today. Although my qualifying wasn’t that good, I had very good starts. In addition, I was hungry enough to finish it. It seems that I need a rabbit to chase in order to do well” commented Cheever his career’s first World Cup podium finish.

Terje Haakonsen.  Copyright: Tommy Solstad
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