Maelle Ricker and Pierre Vaultier victorious in Stoneham Snowboard Cross
Maelle Ricker (CAN) and Pierre Vaultier (FRA) have secured victory in the season's fifth snowboard cross race of the 2012 LG Snowboard FIS World Cup tour which took place in Stoneham, Quebec, today.
While the fastest qualifier relegated French rivals Nelly Moenne Loccoz and Deborah Anthonioz to second and third in the women's final, the current World Cup leader (3,632 points) crossed the finish line ahead of Nikolay Olyunin (RUS) who brought home a career's best and Jonathan Cheever (USA) in the men's final.
Dominique Maltais (CAN), who had lost all hopes for a home turf win in the semi finals due to a riding mistake, won the consolidation run and placed seventh thus still sitting in first of the women's SBX World Cup ranking (3,560) with a comfortable lead.
Because of that unexpected early out of the female World Cup leader, the door opened wide for Ricker, who actually didn't expect this win.
“Dom was so much faster out of the start on video. So, I knew it would be a tough and tight race no matter what.”
In the end, the 33-years-old rider from Squamish, B.C., was right. Ricker just came home with the small advantage of one board length ahead of Nelly Moenne Loccoz.
“That was a bit hairy. I was losing it at the end. I could feel Nelly coming on me. I just managed to hang on.”
No wonder, that the Olympic Champion stated: “I feel good. I feel relieved having won here on home turf.”
Also her main rival in the women's final with whom Ricker had delivered a true show down for victory was all smiles in the end as Moenne Loccoz nailed her career's best result.
“I feel super good. It's fantastic that I came in second today after I had injured my right elbow in the last race. I feel safe on the board again.”
Hole shot for Vaultier
While the women's final was a tight one, Pierre Vaultier came out of the start first and kept his lead until the very end being able to extend it over the whole length of the course (1,030 meters).
In the end, only the fastest qualifier Alex Pullin almost caught up but bailed in the very last turn
“That's no throw away although second would be the same as sixth for me,” said the reigning World Champion after missing out a podium for the second consecutive race.
“It was super tight racing. But that's what you get when you ride on the limit. Sometimes you pull it off, sometimes not.”
Due to this unfortunate attempt of Pullin to grab his last chance for victory, it was Vaultier to take home the first spot in Stoneham – again!
“Another win. I really don't know what to say. It's my fourth time here in Stoneham and the fourth time I win. I don't know why but it seems to be the right vibes for me.
The course seems to be made for me. I celebrated my career's first ever victory here and ever since it just works fine for me.”
According to his season's third win, the Frenchman seems to have the best cards to secure his career's third World Cup title having a lead of almost 1,500 points to his belt with only two more races to come.
But having in mind his bitter title loss last year, the 24-years-old said: “I don't want to think about the World Cup title. Too many things can happen in the last two races. I might be doing good here all the time but I never did well in Valmalenco before.”
The LG Snowboard FIS World Cup continues with a Parallel Giant Slalom in Stoneham, Canada, tomorrow.