Jekova and Pullin victorious in season’s last sbx
The World Cup couple Alexandra Jekova (BUL) and Alex Pullin (AUS) has won the season’s last snowboard cross race of the 2011 LG Snowboard FIS World Cup which took place today in Arosa, Switzerland. While the Bulgarian rider celebrated a back-to-back win by relegating Lindsey Jacobellis (USA) and Nelly Moenne Loccoz (FRA) to second and third in the ladies’ final, her Australian boy friend not only stormed to his season’s first World Cup win but also on top of the SBX World Cup ranking with a total of 3,270 points. Luca Matteotti (ITA) placed second, Nick Baumgartner (USA) third.
It was a tight decision for the men’s SBX World Cup title as Alex Pullin claimed the first ever Globe for a male boarder from down under with the small lead of only 60 points. A possibility no one had really thought of although “Chumpy” had still be part of the race for the title, indeed being already about 600 points behind prior to today’s showdown.
In the end, the 23-years-old had to win the men’s final to grab the Globe after his main rival from France had crashed in the semi finals. “This season was one of the tightest ones we ever had. Everybody was riding unreal. It’s hard to stay consistent in boarder cross over a whole season. Winning it in the end with a small margin is amazing. It’s even better to win the last race, the one which matters, and win the title,” said Pullin after the season’s final of the snowboard cross athletes.
Bringing home the Crystal Globe was the icing on the cake for the boy friend of Alexandra Jekova who thus wrapped up an incredible season in which he not only place first, second and third once but also won the World Championships in La Molina, Spain, end of January. “The World Championships were my main goal. After I won it, I realized that I could win the Globe so I switched directions. It’s tough to change goals in a running season. That I made it is just unreal.”
Pierre Vaultier was forced to call the end of the season also unreal, but from a different point of view. Yesterday, the 23-years-old had just taken over the World Cup lead thus being in perfect position to keep hold on his last year’s title. He just had to make it to the finals but a self-imposed and needless crash placed him on the spectator stands where he had to watch how his title just slipped away.
“It’s terrible. We have been calculating a lot, even with a possible win of Alex (Pullin) but I guess we made a mistake. Just like I did today. I made a mistake while riding next to Alex. And this mistake cost me the Globe. This is very disappointing,” explained Vaultier frustrated. The Frenchman placed second in the World Cup ranking with 3,210 points, Jonathan Cheever (USA, 2,690) in third.
World Cup couple delirious
While Vaultier had to accept one of the bitterest pills a rider could even think of swallowing, cheering was huge in the Australian-Bulgarian squad which was just a few meters away. Since the 2006 Olympic Games, no couple had won a race on the same day. Back then, Tanja Frieden (SUI) and yesterday’s winner Seth Wescott (USA) had been victorious in the first ever Olympic snowboard cross race.
Today, Jekova and Pullin pulled of this feat, a fact which the Bulgarian couldn’t understand after having won the second race in a row. “It’s unbelievable. It was such a tight final against Lindsey (Jacobellis). After I made a mistake in the roller section I fought back and did it. It’s so exciting to be on top. I couldn’t even sleep last night.”
Yesterday, Dominique Maltais had secured the SBX World Cup title on the ladies’ side. The Canadian won her career’s second with a total of 4,800 points ahead of Alexandra Jekova (4,040) and Lindsey Jacobellis (3,610).
The program of the Arosa World Cup finals:
Sat, March 26th: Halfpipe (Qualifiers 8:25 AM, Finals 2:30 PM)
Sun, March 27th: Parallel Giant Slalom (Qualifiers 9 AM, Finals 1PM)
Result women: http://www.fis-ski.com/pdf/2011/SB/7255/7255RLR0.pdf
Final bracket women: http://www.fis-ski.com/pdf/2011/SB/7255/7255RLRF.pdf
Final bracket men: http://www.fis-ski.com/pdf/2011/SB/7256/7256RLRF.pdf
Snowboard Cross World Cup standings women: http://www.fis-ski.com/pdf/2011/SB/7255/7255WCS.pdf
Snowboard Cross World Cup standings men: http://www.fis-ski.com/pdf/2011/SB/7256/7256WCS.pdf