United States beats Spain by half a board in Snowboard Cross teams final
France wipes out in ladies
The first snowboard cross teams' final in the history of World Championships has taken place in Sierra Nevada, with United States in the lead, followed by Spain and Canada in the male category. As for the ladies', France demolished the competition with teams 1 and 2 achieving gold and silver medals, relegating United States to the bronze.
The Spanish aspirations of winning a new medal in Snowboard Cross bore an almost-gold fruit. Baumgartner and Kearney (USA) beat the local athletes in the photo-finish by half a board to be proclaimed World Champions. Today, not only the track was demanding, but also the weather, due to the temperature change, the snow fallen in the early morning, and the fog. Despite these conditions, by the time of the final visibility was good and competition took place after the excellent work done by the organisation to prepare the trail.
In men, two of the a priori favourite teams, Italy 1 (Matteotti/Visintin) and Australia 1 (Pullin/Lambert) could not make it to semifinals, where team Spain and team USA1 faced each other for the first time, with Spain qualifying for the final in the first position, ahead of USA1, and leaving yesterdays' gold medalist Pierre Vaultier (FRA1) out of the final.
In a tight final, which was decided on a photo finish, Kerney/Baumgartner (USA) won Hernández/Eguibar (ESP) by half a board length. As an strategy, United States used Kerney's starts and Baumgartner's corpulence to protect his position in the trail. In the meanwhile, the Spanish team followed the tactics of taking advantage of the slipstream and surmount the rest of competitors. Baumgartner's board arrived a few centimetres before Eguibar's, who obtained his second silver medal of the Championships. Hill/Robanske (CAN) got the bronze medal, and the fourth position went for the Austrian team Schairer/Haemmerle.
As for the ladies, six teams were candidates for the places of honour in a track not too foggy but slightly changing due to snow conditions and the wind. In the first heat, the French Nelly Moenne Loccoz and Chloe Trespeuch qualified together with the North American team Lindsey Jacobellis/Faye Gulini, since Great Britain did not start.
In the second semifinal, team Italy 1 (Raffaela Brutto/Michela Moioli) won out over team France 2 (French Manon Petit/Charotte Bankes). World Cup leader Eva Samkova (CZE) had bad luck again, and was left out of the final alongside her team mate Vendula Hopjakova.
Women's final was treacherous. The first Italian (Brutto) and North American (Jacobellis) relievers suffered a fall that favoured both French teams, with a gold medal for Moenne/Trespeuch (FRA1), and an unexpected silver medal of team France 2 Petit/Bankes. The North American Jacobellis/Gulini ended in the third position, since team Italy 1 (Brutto/Moioli) got disqualifed.
1. FRANCE (Chloe Trespeuch/Nelly Moenne): “It was an amazing weekend for our delegation thank to the medals from yesterday and today. We liked a lot this technical slope and we leave from Sierra Nevada very happy”.
1. EEUU (Hagen Kearney/Nick Baumgartner): “We expected to win the gold medal because we compete very well as a team. The track was one of the most difficult we had this year, but also the most amusing, and very demanding physically speaking, which motivates us to work harder. It was a challenge. We love Spain and Sierra Nevada in particular, because of its temperature and its very enthusiastic public.”
2. SPAIN (Lucas Eguíbar/Regino Hernández): "We are very happy with this silver medal, although we did not won the gold due to a small mistake in the last few meters. Today we have done a great job in all the heats despite of the snowfalls, which have made that the track very different from yesterday.
In this discipline a team needs two good competitors to be on top, and we are there. For this reason, France could not qualify today for the final."