Very high level of competition at the Nissan Russian Adventure
After the first day of competition with fresh snow and sunshine with an enthusiastic crowd, the 56 riders had a day to recuperate as Day 2 was postponed due to warmer temperatures.
Surprising at that may be in Krasnaya Polyana, situated 40 minutes from the Black Sea, this future Sochi 2014 Olympic site for on-snow sports (all other sports will be in the city of Sochi) does not usually have such mild temperatures in the winter. However, the sun increased the temperature so much that the O°C point was at 3.800 meters.
With the summit chosen for Day 2 reaching 2.200 meters (resort at 500m with lots of snow), the mountain guides decided to postpone the competition day (possible competition days spanned from January 21-24) so the riders could compete in better conditions.
On Saturday, the temperature has comeback down to the seasonal norms, and even with the cloud cover, the riders were able to compete.
On the crest of the top ski lift, after a one-hour walk there were 4 possible starting points (2 accessible with harness only) forming a circle facing the ski lift, the show was particularly spectacular. Suspense was in the air until the end as Aurelien Ducroz (FRA), leader of Day 1, and Henrik Windstedt (SWE) were amongst the last to compete (start list was in reverse order of Day 1).
Placing 3rd both days of the competition, the consistency of Sverre Liliequist (SWE) pays off. This situation is a bit unusual for him as we have seen in the past; his powerful, aggressive ‘Viking’ style often causes him to fall. His intelligent line choice revealed his extreme agility on various terrains. Aurelien Ducroz (FRA) just missed the top of the podium with only one tenth of a point difference; these are the closest results ever for the Freeride World Tour.
This story of consistency was almost the same for Cyril Neri (SUI), as he placed 2nd and 4th; this proves he really studied his options to take the most impressive and smooth lines that played into his style of riding. This victory is undeniably thanks to his rich experience.
Jess McMillan (USA) is the undeniable winner of this competition with her fast and aggressive lines. Elyse Saugstad (USA) unfortunately fell when landing an impressive jump; she will get her chance to defend her title of World Champion on her home mountains in Squaw Valley USA.
Aline Bock (GER) is undoubtedly the revelation of this first stage of the Freeride World Tour. She broke away from the traditional runs integrating numerous jumps thanks to her début as a freestyler. Gaining confidence from this first victory, she will certainly continue to impress everyone throughout the season.
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