McIvor, Kuhn win ski cross World Cup in Les Contamines
Frenchman Xavier Kuhn and Canadian Ashleigh McIvor won the World Cup ski cross races on Sunday, Jan. 10. The World Cup ski cross event originally scheduled for Saturday Jan. 9, in Les Contamines, France, had to be postponed due to thick fog. It was rescheduled for Sunday Jan. 10.
Postponing the race by one day was the right decision as conditions on Sunday were great. The race eventually took place on a sunny day and on a well prepared course, much to the liking of the ski cross racers.
Kuhn conquers his second career World Cup victory today, ahead of the Canadian Stanley Hayer and the Czech Tomas Kraus. The 31-year-old Kuhn has last won a World Cup race in 2004 in Spindleruv Mlyn, Czech Republic. "My previous victory was six years ago," Kuhn said on the event's official Web site. "It's really pleasing one month away from the Olympics."
American and former alpine skier Casey Puckett led out of the gate gaining the hole shot and was just a turn away from the first World Cup win of his career when he crashed coming off a jump. He eventually had to settle for fourth.
Canadian Stanley Hayer - who had won both the quarterfinals and semifinals - secured a second spot after having been overtaken by Kuhn in the final heat.
Last season's overall World Cup champ, the Czech Republic's Tomas Kraus held on for a third-place finish.
Today's win, puts Kuhn into second place in the overall World Cup standings with 225 points. Switzerland's Michael Schmid was eliminated in the semifinals today and finished fifth. He kept the overall lead with 295 points.
On the women's side, it was Ashleigh McIvor (Whister, BC) taking home the gold medal followed by teammate Julia Murray. Austria's Karin Huttary (winner here in 2006) finished third.
McIvor, claiming her first career World Cup victory, beat Murray in the women's final heat.
"What was nice about today's win was I didn't advance because someone crashed. It was all good strong starts and good strong skiing," said McIvor. "It was really nice to come back to Les Contamines and finally race some air and some off camber doubles with good terrain and good flow; it's one of those courses that when you get to the bottom, you want to go do it again!"
With today's victory McIvor rises to second in the ski cross standings with 247 points.
Six-time World Cup overall champion and three-time winner in Les Contamines, Ophelie David of France was sandwiched between the two Canadians during the final heat. She attempted to pass McIvor towards the bottom of the course and crashed, exiting the course.
Murray and Huttary were able to capitalize on David's error and moved into 2nd and 3rd position.
Although David ended up crossing the finish line fourth only, she retains the overall lead in the standings with 290 points, followed by McIvor, 53 points behind in second and Murray 87 points back in third.
Huttary's first podium finish this season was impressive as she tore her ACL only in late March 2009.
The World Cup ski cross crowd now heads to Alpe d Huez, France, the home of Ophelie David.
The next World Cup ski cross event will be held here Wednesday, Jan. 13. Then there will be races in Blue Mountain, Canada, and then Lake Placid, United States.
1 MCIVOR Ashleigh CAN
2 MURRAY Julia CAN
3 HUTTARY Karin AUT
4 DAVID Ophelie FRA
5 MUELLER Katrin SUI
6 JOSSERAND Marion FRA
7 KVINLOG GENLID Gro NOR
8 FJELLVANG-SOELLING Sophie DAN
1 KUHN Xavier FRA
2 HAYER Stanley CAN
3 KRAUS Tomas CZE
4 PUCKETT Casey USA
5 SCHMID Michael SUI
6 DELBOSCO Christopher CAN
7 HOFER Beni SUI
8 PICCARD Ted FRA