Thompson and Detrez fastest in World Cup Arosa SX sprint
Arosa, SUI - The third race of the 2016 Cross Alps Tour saw the first-ever Audi FIS Ski Cross World Cup nighttime sprint-format competition take to the slopes of Arosa (SUI) on Tuesday night, with Marielle Thompson (CAN) reasserting herself atop the ladies’ leaderboard with a win and Romain Detraz (SUI) thrilling the home crowd with his first career victroy.
Competition in Arosa was hugely entertaining and unpredictable from start to finish. Some unlikely qualification results on Monday set the stage for a spirited public heat selection on Tuesday, which in turn lead to action-packed nighttime competition under the lights on the shortened Arosa course, with a boisterous Swiss crowd on hand to urge things on. With several incredible passes, a handful of minor crashes on the big Arosa negative turn, and Swiss youngster Detraz taking the his first career victory in just his eighth World Cup competition, the evening even had a fairytale ending.
In the ladies’ competition, though, it was top qualifier Thompson (CAN) who would run the table on the competition, as the top qualifier won every heat on her way to her second victory of the young season while giving herself the World Cup and Cross Alps Tour lead in the process.
“Tonight went awesome,” Thompson said, “I executed my plan just how I hoped. Things got a little tight in the semi-final, but otherwise I’m just stoked on how it went. I felt good…I think I’m a little more awake at night. I felt like I didn’t ski my best in Val Thorens so it’s nice to be back on my game here in Arosa.”
Behind Thompson was Karolina Riemen-Zerebecka (POL), who would take the second podium of her career and her first since the 2012/13 season, improving herself to fourth overall at this point in the ski cross World Cup season.
Third place went to Ophelie David (FRA), as the winningest ski cross racer in World Cup history added another podium to her resume, taking her up to 63 podiums in her incredible career. Meanwhile Sami Kennedy-Sim (AUS) was the unlucky lady of the evening, coming in fourth, just shy of the first podium of her career.
In the men’s competition, Detraz made good on what seemed like an unlikely 7th-place qualification ranking, pulling the fasted starts of the day in every one of his heats before really impressing with his ability to hold on to the lead throughout each heat while some of the best ski-cross racers in the world battled behind him.
“It’s unbelievable,” said Detraz, still in shock following the awards ceremony, “If someone told me this morning that I was going to win this race, I couldn’t believe them. I had a good start and then I was able to stay out in front every heat, making a clean turn on the negative. I made a huge progress in my technique in the last year and it really helped me today.”
Second place, for the second race in a row, went to Brady Leman (CAN), while third on the night went to Jean Frederic Chapuis (FRA), as he overtook Arosa-Lenzerhide favourite Alex Fiva (SUI) for the World Cup lead. Fourth place went to ski cross World Cup upstart Siegmar Klotz, a recent Alpine World Cup transplant who is quickly making his mark on the Audi FIS Ski Cross World Cup.
From Arosa, the Audi FIS Ski Cross World Cup Cross Alps tour moves over to Montafon (AUT), for the fourth of the six Cross Alps Tour competitions on Saturday, December 17.
GEPA Pictures images (for editorial use)