Holmlund and Chapuis dominate qualification rounds at Innichen/San Candido
Innichen/San Candido, ITA – The top athletes of the Audi FIS Ski Cross World Cup tour showed remarkable consistency through two rounds of qualifications at the Innichen/San Candido stop on Friday, as skiers squared off against the clock ahead of back-to-back finals events on Saturday and Sunday.
On the ladies' side, this meant that an exception start to the weekend for the Swedish ski cross saw Anna Holmlund and Sandra Naeslund go 1-2 in both qualification rounds, followed by 19-year-old World Cup rookie Daniela Maier (GER) in third and Andrea Zemenova (CZE) fourth in quali one, with those two switching spots to put Zemenova in third and Maier in fourth in quali two.
In fact, both qualification rounds saw the same ten athletes occupying the top-10 spots, with only a minor shuffling in the order across the two results lists showing that some solid training has the top ladies dialed in.
The men's two qualification rounds were even more consistent, at least at the very top of the list, with Jean Frederic Chapuis (FRA), Victor Oehling Norberg (SWE), Sylivain Miaillier (FRA), and Andy Matt (AUT) going 1-2-3-4 through both time trials.
And while there was some more variety further down the lists in comparison of the two men's top-10's from qualies, strong Canadians Chris Delbosco and Brady Leman could be found in both, sitting eighth and ninth after qualification round one and sixth and seventh after round two.
The day of qualifications got off to a scary start, with Marielle Thompson (CAN) dropping in first on the day but crashing after hooking an edge through a fast turn in the middle of the course. While Thompson initially got up and walked off piste under her own power, she was eventually taken to hospital as a precautionary measure.
With its tricky, rhythmic start, three large jumps, and a speedy Super-G style bottom section, the course at Innichen/San Candido throws several distinct challenges at the athletes as they fight their way to the finish line.
While Friday's qualification rounds showcased the consistency of some of the top ski cross athletes though the challenges of the dynamic course, Saturday and Sunday's four-on-the-floor racing should not be so predictable, as different athletes' strengths come will come into play at different times through different course sections.
And, as always with the Audi FIS Ski Cross World Cup, though it might not be fun to bet on, it'll certainly be fun to watch.