Day one in Tazawako goes to Cox and Kingsbury
Tazawako, JPN - It was another weekend and another win for the top two skiers on the FIS Freestyle moguls World Cup tour, as Britt Cox (AUS) and Mikael Kingsbury (CAN), both massive frontrunners on the World Cup leaderboard, took the wins in the first of this weekend’s back-to-back competitions.
After bad weather wiped out Friday’s training session, the sun came out for the start of the day in Tazawako for competition on Saturday, and the Canadians, the French, and one standout Australian came ready despite the shortened preparation time.
Through the qualifications and the first finals round of the ladies competition it looked like Perrine Laffont (FRA) was primed for a repeat performance on the slope where she earned her first World Cup victory last season. However, come time for the big final, Cox had other plans.
While Laffont was able to score the highest turning scores of anyone in the big final, Cox’s faster time and better jumping gave her the edge, but only by the slimmest of margins. When it was all said and done less than half a point separated the two skiers - Cox winning with a score of 78.57 to Laffont’s 78.36.
The win was Cox’s sixth of the season, giving her seven podiums in eight events and a 234 point lead over Laffont on the World Cup leaderboard. Also worth noting is that Cox’s podium was the 24th for the Australian team across the Freestyle and Snowboard disciplines, marking a new season best for the nation.
Third for the ladies on Saturday went to Andi Naude (CAN), giving her three straight podiums and four podiums total on what is turning out to be a career year for the 21-year-old.
Laffont, meanwhile, was able to leapfrog Justine Dufour-Lapointe (CAN) and move back into second spot on the moguls World Cup leaderboard, with 461 points to Cox’s 705.
Kingsbury makes it four in a row
After some challenges earlier in the season, Mikael Kingsbury has now well and truly reasserted his total dominance on the men’s moguls World Cup, taking his fourth straight win and his sixth victory of the year.
Kingsbury already held wins in three of the previous four competitions in Tazawako, and on Saturday he proved again that the Japanese course is just to his liking.
Kingsury’s big final score of 89.99 is one of the highest earned by any moguls skier in any stage this season, making it essentially impossible for his teammate and Saturday runner-up Philippe Marquis (CAN) to catch him on the day. With the second fastest time of the finals and the highest jumping and turning scores by a significant margin, Kingsbury simply steamrolled Tazawako.
Marquis' runner-up was his second-straight podium after a slow start to the season, and the result moves him up into fourth on the moguls leaderboard.
Third place for the men went to Ben Cavet (FRA), giving him his fifth podium on the season as he quietly racks up the points. He now sits (slightly) comfortably in second place on the moguls World Cup leaderboard after Saturday, with 432 points to Kingsbury’s 720 and 27 points up on third overall Matt Graham (AUS)
Action in Tazawako resumes on Sunday with dual moguls competition, with preliminary heat beginning at 12:05 and finals slated for 13:30 JST.