Ricker and Vaultier win first SBX of the current season
Maelle Ricker from Canada and Pierre Vaultier from France have won the season’s first Snowboard Cross of the LG Snowboard FIS World Cup 2009/2010 against the strong international competitors.
In the final of the second World Cup on Argentinean soil Ricker left Bulgaria’s Alexandra Jekova, her team mate Dominique Maltais (CAN) and Tanja Frieden from Switzerland behind. On the men’s side Pierre Vaultier crossed the finish line ahead of the Americans Seth Wescott and Graham Watanabe, as well as Austria’s Markus Schairer.
Both of the thrilling final heats at the first race of the Olympic season could not have been topped. Not only today’s victory or the World Cup points were most important on the spectacular race track in Chapelco, but also the national qualifications for the Vancouver Olympic Games in 2010 were on the table.
In the ladies final, Tanja Frieden (SUI) and Alexandra Jekova (BUL) had some trouble in the beginning of the race, from which today’s champion Maelle Ricker (CAN) profited from: “I had a really good start and just kept on going as fast as possible. I almost can’t believe that I won here. It was a perfect day of racing on a great track. I hope it will keep on going like this, particularly at the Olympic Games next year, which will take place almost in my backyard”. But also second placed Alexandra Jekova was super happy: “It was so much fun today. The start of the season couldn’t have been better for me”.
At the start of the men’s final Markus Schairer (AUT) and Seth Wescott (USA) almost crashed after a hard tackle, of which Wescott came out best and kept up a tough duell with the winner Pierre Vaultier (FRA) until the finish line. “It was a tight competition against Seth until the end today on this great course. I’m so happy now, I think I really like Argentina”. But also Wescott wasn’t disappointed at all: “It’s perfect today. I almost had no training on snow before, but felt physically strong. This spot on the podium is so important for me, also regarding the Olympics. Our team is so strong, that every result counts when you want to be in the Olympic team”.
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