Ekaterina Tudegesheva and Michal Lambert victorious in Parallel Giant Slalom at Nendaz
In the last parallel race counting as a quota qualifier for the Olympic Games, Ekaterina Tudegesheva (RUS) and Michael Lambert (CAN) have come out victorious in Nendaz, Switzerland. While the Russian rider was able to edge of Nicolien Sauerbreij (NED) in the ladies' final of the 2010 LG Snowboard FIS World Cup season's fourth parallel giant slalom thus taking home her career's second win, Michael Lambert celebrated his first ever World Cup triumph.
In the men's final, the 23-years-old Canadian relegated Austria's Andreas Prommegger to the runner-up spot. In the battle for third, Benjamin Karl (AUT) crossed the finish line ahead of Rok Marguc (SLO). On the ladies' side, local hero Fraenzi Maegert-Kohli (SUI) came in as third on the 660 metres long Alpage course while Ekaterina Ilyukhina (RUS) took fourth.
Canadian men's team on fire
For Michael Lambert, who had earned his career's first podium in Telluride last December, a dream came true in his 35th World Cup start. "I was always searching for this although it's not a big secret how to win. You just have to make good turns" the Toronto (ON) resident said. His victory was equivalent to another win for the Canadian men squad which now has won all four parallel giant slalom races of this World Cup tour so far.
Jasey Jay Anderson claimed victory twice (Telluride and Kreischberg) while Matthew Morison earned his win in Telluride, too. Now, Michael Lambert shined from the top podium spot making him and his team mates top candidates for an Olympic medal at the Vancouver Winter Games. However, Lambert still doesn't seem sure about his participation: "I'm still stressed to go to the Olympics. I guess I still need a podium in Stoneham."
Two Austrians also seem to be in good shape for the up-coming major event. Both, Andreas Prommegger and Benjamin Karl were able to repeat their podium finish clinched in the last race at Kreischberg. Due to this, Prommegger said: "I'm feeling pretty good. It was a tough course today and hard to make it in the top-3. This was important for the Olympics as we have a strong team." His team mate Karl, who had lost the semi finals against later-on winner Lambert by only four hundredths of a second, took the same line by adding: "We have a good team and we are all pushing each other."
Tudegesheva is back
After her last season and the one before didn't go well as expected with her last podium finish dating back to March 2008 in Stoneham (3rd rank) it seems that the 2007 World Champion Ekaterina Tudegesheva is back to business by getting back the right shape for the 2010 Olympics.
"I'm super happy and also very tired after all these exhausting runs. The course was good for me but now I'm just looking forward to Vancouver" the fifth ranked rider of the last Winter Games explained.
In Vancouver, Tudegesheva should keep an eye on Nicolien Sauerbreij who underlined her top form by bringing home her career's 19th podium result thus perfectly linking to her win at the last race at Kreischberg. After this good start in the New Year, the 30-years-old Dutch athlete hopes to go on like this: "It was a tough and challenging course but good. Now, I hope to place on the podium in Stoneham, too."
The LG Snowboard FIS World Cup's next stop takes place in Stoneham and Quebec. From January 20th to 24th, contests in all four disciplines including the big air finals are scheduled - with this winter's fifth parallel giant slalom to wrap things up at January 24th.