Maelle Ricker and Stian Sivertzen victorious in first Snowboard Cross in Valmalenco

14 March 2012 15:56
IMG_3536 -

Maelle Ricker (CAN) and Stian Sivertzen (NOR) have won the first of two snowboard cross races of the 2012 LG Snowboard FIS World Cup scheduled in Valmalenco, Italy.

In the women's final of the penultimate boarder cross race of the season, the reigning Olympic Champion from Canada relegated Alexandra Jekova (BUL) and Nelly Moenne Loccoz (FRA) to the second and third rank.

On the men's side, Stian Sivertzen celebrated his season's first ahead of Alex Tuttle (USA) and Tony Ramon (FRA) who both finished on a World Cup podium for the first time in their career.

In addition, his career's second World Cup win, secured just two weeks prior to his 23rd birthday, also marked the end of a very hard and three years lasting comeback time back on top of the world.

In 2009, the Norwegian Viking suffered several serious head injuries and a torn Aorta in a horrible crash which took place in the pre-Olympic test event at Cypress Mountain.

No one thought I could ever be back. I was five days in coma and had to learn to walk and ride again. No doctor believed I could do it, but I did it,” said Sivertzen.

It feels so great, what a day! I was strong in the past races but this time, it just worked out for me.

I have waited for this since my injury, so quite a very long time. It was a very tough time. But finally I made it.”

While the 22-years-old from Kongsberg celebrated the end of a long journey from injury to World Cup win, Ricker's back-to-back win in the World Cup circuit now makes the duel for the Crystal Globe a very close one.

With only one last race to come in Valmalenco (qualifiers March 15th, finals March 16th), the 33-years-old top qualifiers is now, with so far accumulated 3,950 points, only 110 points behind of current World Cup leader Dominique Maltais (CAN, 4,060), who finished fourth today.

I guess the globe is now in my mind. I didn't think I was gonna be close like this before the race. But now, the race on Friday is just more exciting,” stated the Squamish, B.C., resident who was very pleased with a “perfect day”.

On the men's side, the race for the Globe is over. Despite his out in the semis due to an injury (suspicion of ankle fracture), Pierre Vaultier (FRA) already clinched his career's third World Cup title with 3,852 points.