Kober and Karl win the Parallel Giant Slalom in Stoneham
The FIS World Cup weekend in Stoneham and Quebec wrapped up with victories for Germany and Austria. In the last of four contests, Amelie Kober (GER) and Benjamin Karl (AUT) claimed Gold in the Parallel Giant Slalom.
In the ladies’ final, the German rider beat Japanese Tomoka Takeuchi relegating her to the second spot by a lead of only 5 hundredths. World Cup leader Doris Guenther from Austria secured the last spot on the podium ahead of Russia’s Alena Kuleshova. On the men’s side, the Austrian team celebrated a total podium sweep with Benjamin Karl as first, team mate Siegfried Grabner as second and Andreas Prommegger finishing third. Daniel Biveson (SWE) came in fourth.
It could not have been a better advertisement for the sport as Amelie Kober and Tomoka Takeuchi provided the perfect thrill in the ladies’ final – just like what Parallel Giant Slalom racing is famous for. Both came near the finish line head-to-head after the Japanese rider had been able to catch up her gap of 6 tenth which she had gained in the first run. But in the end, it was Kober who crossed the line first. “That was a real close one. I knew that it would be an exciting race as the blue course was the faster one. I just pedaled the metal hoping that it would pay off. However, I had the fortune what you need sometimes, too” said the 2006 Olympic Silver medalist from Germany who had raced down the red course in the final run.
It was the third podium for the 21-year-old in the last three World Cup races after she had triumphed at Kreischberg and placed second at Sudelfeld. “This victory was very important. The streak I currently have is just unbelievable. I’m feeling very good at the moment and simply enjoy what I’m doing.”
Also, her contender for Gold was all smiles – despite the fact that Takeuchi once again had missed her career’s first World Cup triumph. After placing second in Kreischberg twice, it was her third runner-up finish of the current season within the world wide snowboard series. However, it’s still the best season she ever had: “I’m not disappointed. I’m happy about the fact that I made it into the finals today without benefitting from any mistakes of my rivals but just because I was racing so well. Thus, I’m very pleased.”
However, the 25-year-old who had missed the podium as fourth in the 2009 World Championships Parallel Giant Slalom also let herself carried away to post a declaration of war for the up-coming competitions in Sunday River: “The result was very important for my confidence and thus for the next races. But I hope that I finally will win in the US race next week!”
The Austrian squad delivered a perfect result for its home country to conclude the second tour stop in Canada. After Markus Schairer had won the Snowboard Cross and Stefan Gimpl had triumphed in the Big Air in Stoneham and Quebec, it was time for Benjamin Karl to also sign in the list of winners – leading a total podium sweep. The reigning World Champion in the Parallel Slalom thus was more than pleased with his accurate and flawless riding on the 610 metres long course and its 26 gates: “I had fun right from the first turn of the day on. The slope was just perfect. It was icy but non-slip – just like I prefer it to be. The slope was made for me” said Karl after his victory repeat of 2008 at the same spot.
Siegfried Grabner who had to accept defeat in the finals was also confident with the result as he was not only able to defend his World Cup lead but also to extend it. The snowboard veteran now sits in the first position with 3,900 points followed by Simon Schoch (SUI) who collected 3,080 points so far. “Mission ‘Defend World Cup lead’ completed. I was riding very well today. Just in the final, I made my only mistakes right in the top section of the course. Despite this, all was good. Now, I look forward to Sunday River. I’m hungry for more again”
At the Halfpipe contest at Cypress, Kelly Clark and Shaun White impressively underlined that the Olympic Champion from 2002 and her fellow countrymen who won in 2006 are the top aspirants for another Gold medal at Vancouver 2010.
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.
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