On the Snow
The men’s and ladies’ FIS Cross-Country World Cup presented by Viessmann tours were both idle over the weekend to allow teams to prepare and travel overseas for the start of the inaugural Ski Tour Canada. Eight stages await the top Cross-Country athletes in the season’s last World Cup competitions. The Tour got off to a great start yesterday in Gatineau with the 1.7 km free technique sprints with wins for Maiken Caspersen Falla (NOR) and Sergey Ustiugov (RUS).
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Almaty (KAZ) hosted the men’s and ladies’ FIS Ski Jumping World Cup presented by Viessmann tours and saw the two dominant forces this season earn double victories. Sara Takanashi (JPN) added to her unbelievable World Cup victory tally with two more wins, while Slovenian Peter Prevc clinched the Overall World Cup title with his two victories. Prevc has enjoyed an amazing season, winning both the Four Hills Tournament in addition to the Ski Flying World Championship gold.
Mr. Nordic Combined, Eric Frenzel (GER), has done it again. Finishing in fourth place at the World Cup presented by Viessmann competition in Val di Fiemme (ITA), was enough for Frenzel to clinch his fourth straight Overall Title. Norway’s Magnus Krog topped Sunday’s Individual Gundersen ahead of teammate Joergen Graabak and Fabain Reissle (GER). Saturday’s Individual Gundersen went to Bernhard Gruber (AUT) with Frenzel finishing in second place.
Both Audi FIS Ski World Cup tours had a full weekend of action with the men in Hinterstoder (AUT) and the ladies in Soldeu (AND).
The man of the hour was Alexis Pinturault (FRA), who won both giant slaloms in Hinterstoder, while Marcel Hirscher (AUT) finished second twice. Also on the schedule was a super-G where the next Norwegian speed talent excelled as Aleksander Aamodt Kilde topped the field in his second-ever career victory
The ladies’ battled tough weather conditions and heavy snowfall in Soldeu (AND), but in the end Frederica Brignone (ITA) earned the super-G victory, followed on Sunday by Marie Michele Gagnon (CAN) winning the alpine combined.
Current World Cup leader Lindsey Vonn (USA) crashed in the Andorra super-G race and announced on Wednesday morning that she would end her season due to three hairline fractures in her knee. “Because I am currently leading the Overall World Cup standings, this is one of the toughest decisions of my career,” she commented.
With her sights set firmly on the 2017 World Championships in St. Mortiz (SUI) and the Olympic Games in PyeongChang (KOR) in 2018, Vonn deemed the risk of permanent damage too high.
Big success for cross events in PyeongChang
Bokwang Phoenix Park (KOR) hosted its final FIS World Cup events of the season as the last Test Events in the FIS disciplines this season for the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games were equally as successful as the previous alpine and ski and snowboard slopestyle competitions.
The ski and snowboard cross FIS World Cups each staged spectacular races with amazing photo finishes on the future Olympic course. In snowboard cross, France grabbed bragging rights with Chloe Trespeuch grabbing the victory while in the men’s race, American Nate Holland edged World Cup leader Pierre Vaultier (FRA) for the win.
Holland said. “The slope is perfect, the jumps were big and there are some tactics and strategy involved. I like courses that are big and wide open with strategy - it makes you think a little more.”
Sunday’s ski cross race saw Austrian Andrew Limbacher and surprise winner Bastien Midol (FRA) take home the victories on a day that was filled with daring passing and countless photo finishes.
To ensure that the 1,300-meter cross course caters to the needs of both skiers and snowboarders, the course splits after about 20% of the slope with the skiers and snowboarders taking different routes, and then rejoining after about 60% leading into the common finish area.
Also in Asia was the FIS Freestyle World Cup moguls event in Tazawako (JPN). Chloe Dufour-Lapointe picked up very important points in her hunt for the Overall World Cup Title with a second place finish in the indivdual moguls competition on Saturday, followed by third place in the dual moguls on Sunday. Chloe now holds a slim nine point lead in the Overall standings ahead of her sister Justine. On the men’s tour, Mikael Kingsbury (CAN) secured his Overall World Cup Title after earning second place in the individual moguls on Saturday, followed by the dual moguls victory on Sunday.
Meanwhile, at new host of the FIS Snowboard World Cup, Kayseri (TUR), the alpine snowboarders were in action with a parallel giant slalom. Esther Ledeka (CZE) built on her Overall World Cup lead, easily earning the victory, while on the men’s side, it was Andreas Prommegger (AUT) who earned valuable points as he sits in third place in the current PGS season standings.