Holly Crawford and Fredrik Austbo claim victory in season’s last halfpipe contest

20 March 2010 18:27

Holly Crawford (AUS) and Fredrik Austbo (NOR) have won the season's last halfpipe contest of the 2010 LG Snowboard FIS World Cup. In La Molina, Spain, Holly Crawford secured a back-to-back win after having triumphed in Valmalenco (ITA) last weekend. With 38.4 points Crawford relegated Canada's Mercedes Nicoll (CAN, 37.5) to the second rank. Paulina Ligocka (POL, 35.5) finished third.

On the men's side of things Fredrik Austbo celebrated his career's first World Cup win. The Norwegian (40.9) edged off Christophe Schmidt from Germany (40.4) to the runner-up position with a lead of only 0.5 points. Justin Lamoureux (CAN) rounded out the podium as third (38.5). Due to his this winter's second podium finish and two more fourth ranks the Canadian wrapped up the season as best halfpipe rider bringing home his first ever Crystal Globe.

His team mate Maelle Ricker, who placed ninth today, has bettered her chances of winning the Overall World Cup ranking after she had earned the snowboard cross title already. The 31-years-old (5,290), who competed in her sole halfpipe competition of the season today, extended her lead on Nicolien Sauerbreij (NED; 4,800), who has the chance to strike back in tomorrow's very last parallel giant slalom, by some 290 points more up to 490 points. Sauerbreij now needs a top-4 finish in order to repeat her 2008 Overall World Cup triumph.

Lamoureux all smiles

So, the race for the ladies' big Crystal Globe, which hits the home stretch tomorrow, seems to get as close as the battle for the men's halfpipe World Cup title today. As ranking's runner-up Janne Korpi (FIN, 1,730) didn't enter the contest, it was all between Lamoureux and Patrick Burgener (SUI) - with a slight advantage of a lead of about only 400 points to the Canadian veteran.

In the end, the more experienced rider (2,400) triumphed over the Swiss up-coming rising star, who bailed in both of his final runs thus finishing twelfth. Due to this, Christophe Schmidt was able to pass Burgener in the final ranking of the Halfpipe World Cup by placing third with 1,690 points.

According to this successful battle 33-years-old Lamoureux was all smiles. "I'm so stoked. It was really tight between me and Pat (Patrick Burgener). HP World Cup winner Justin Lamoureux (CAN)And he rode very good here in La Molina. So I knew that I have to beat him in order to win," he said after the final. The rider with outstanding technical skills, who however still has to wait for his career's first win, also added that "I would have loved to win today but a third is not bad. Winning the globe is awesome."

First ever World Cup win for Austbo

In contrary, Fredrik Austbo was able to celebrate his career's first ever World Cup win. The 21-years-old Viking pushed it hard in the second run of the finals while facing warm temperatures finally impressing spectators and judges with "frontside air" to "backside 540", "back-to-back 720's" and a nice "frontside 900" to finish things off.

"I'm stoked that I got one run down. It's great to be back," he said thus driving at the Olympic halfpipe contest which he missed to a concussion suffered in the very last training before competition day.

Today, everything went fine, although Austbo had some problems, too. "I struggled a little bit in the training for the finals. I couldn't get my run together but luckily did in the final when it counted."

Christophe Schmidt, who had to settle for second after being beaten by only 0.5 points thus missing his career's first World Cup win, was also very pleased with the result. No wonder, as today's second rank was his very first podium.

"I'm very content that I was able to bring down two good runs as the conditions were not the easiest ones. It's a nice affirmation for me," Schmidt explained after having nailed "frontside 720" to "haakon flip", "frontside 900", "backside 540" and a final "air to fakie".

Crawford earns second consecutive win

On the ladies' side of things, Holly Crawford once again underlined her good shape by celebrating a back-to-back win. After she had triumphed last weekend in Valmalenco (ITA), she also placed herself on top of the podium in La Molina thus celebrating her career's third World Cup win. "It's a pretty good wrap up of the season, especially as it was very hard today with the warm weather and the soft snow. Today, it was the matter of holding on to the board."

And the 26-years-old Sidney resident did well by throwing in "frontside air" to "backside air", "frontside 720" as well as "back-to-back 360's". "I wanted to give all I can before having a summer break," Crawford said. Due to her victory, the rider from down under finished the season as third of the ladies' Halfpipe World Cup ranking (2,600), right behind of China's Xuetong Cai (3,040) and Zhifeng Sun (2,805).