Jekova/Olafsen and Matteotti/Schiavon triumph in sbx team event
At the close of the LG Snowboard FIS World Cup stop in Telluride, Colorado, Alexandra Jekova (BUL) and Helene Olafsen (NOR) as well as Italy’s Luca Matteotti and Alberto Schiavon have clinched victory in the season’s sole team snowboard cross race. While the Bulgarian-Norwegian combined squad successfully competed in an enthralling ladies’ final against Austria’s Maria Ramberger and Susanne Moll as well as Lindsey Jacobellis and Callan Chythlook-Sifsof (both USA), the Italian riders were able to triumph due to an incredible finish sprint. In the last World Cup event of 2010, riders from the USA rounded out the podium with Alex Deibold and Jonathan Cheever finishing second as well as Nick Baumgartner and Jayson Hale as third.
Before, the final had seemed to wrap up with a win for the hosting country. When the first riders had crossed the finish line, the start gates for Cheever and Hale opened almost simultaneously. But through the course of the race, Alberto Schiavon was able to catch up the gap between him and the two US boys in front, passed Hale and finally also overtook Cheever.
“I’m so happy and so tired,” said Schiavon all smiles in the finish area. No wonder; as the 32-years-old residing in Madonna di Campiglio wasn’t – according to his statement – back to full business yet after having broken the right collar bone at the last World Cup stop in Lech, Austria. “I threw in everything I had and pushed myself to the limit. But at the moment I might be at 70% of what is possible. So, it’s nice that Europeans were victorious.”
However, the Italian also took advantage of a slight riding mistake Cheever’s. “I thought I already have it and gave everything. But Alberto was strong. And when I made a little mistake close to the finish, he capitalised it,” the US-American said.
Thrilling duel on the ladies’ side
The ladies’ final was just as intense as the battle for victory on the men’s side. Here, too, the second member of team USA, Callan Chythlook-Sifsof, had entered the course with a comfortable lead. But Helene Olafsen managed to catch up the 30 metres distance between both athletes within the first third of the course.
Ever since, an enthralling duel for the lead emerged; with the better end for the reigning World Champion from Norway. Olafsen overtook Chythlook-Sifsof but had to face some attacks of the US girl. In turn number six, the 21-years-old tried to come back and pass Olafsen but put too much pressure on her edge thus losing the battle for victory and, due to the loss of speed, also the runner-up position to Susanne Moll from Austria.
The LG Snowboard FIS World Cup will continue after the Christmas holidays. In Bad Gastein, the first competition of 2011, a parallel slalom, is scheduled on the Bucheben slope thus being the last event before the 9th FIS Snowboard World Championships will take place in La Molina, Spain.