World Champions claim victory at halfpipe contest in Bardonecchia

11 March 2011 16:12

Reigning Word Champions Holly Crawford and Nathan Johnstone have won the fifth and thus penultimate halfpipe contest of the 2011 LG Snowboard FIS World Cup season. In the Olympic halfpipe in Bardonecchia, Italy, the Australian riders impressively competed against the international field. In the ladies’ final, Crawford, who had earned 24.7 points for her winning run, relegated French Mirabelle Thovex (23.1) and Polish Paulina Ligocka-Andrzejewska (21.6) to the second and third rank,. On the men’s side, Johnstone led the pack with a total of 28.7 points while French team riders Johann Baisamy (26.1) and Arthur Longo (25.2) rounded out the podium.

However, Johnstone, a 21-years-old Perisher, had not only claimed victory after he had thrown in some massive tricks with frontside 900 to backside 540, frontside 1080, cab 720 and frontside crail but also took over the lead in the Halfpipe World Cup as well as the Freestyle Snowboard Overall World Cup ranking. After his career’s second World Cup win (first was in Yabuli, China, this Feb) Johnstone now sits on top of the table with 3,060 points.

“I’m pretty happy. I really wanted to get a win here to get me back in a good position in the points ranking,” said Johnstone right after his final run. “Now, I guess we could have a good show in Arosa, so I hope Ryo (Aono) will be there:”

By now, it’s not clear yet, if the current second best halfpipe rider of the season will be entering the World Cup finals in the Swiss ski resort. The Japanese top gun, who has collected 2,800 point so far, is the only one being able to wrest the small Crystal Globe from the Aussie. In the battle for the big Crystal Globe, Johnstone also has to keep an eye on Austria’s Clemens Schattschneider (2,508), who gets his chance to up the ante in tomorrow’s slopestyle competition.

On the women’s side, Holly Crawford, who bettered her points up to 3,100 with today’s win, has reduced the arrears to World Cup leader Xuetong Cai (3,800) thus having made the race for the Halfpipe World Cup title also more exciting. “It would be nice to beat her (Xuetong Cai) in Arosa. This would make my day,” said the 27-years-old, who also admitted, that her winning run consisting of frontside lien, japan air, frontside 720, cab 360 and frontside 540, still has potential for improvement. “I struggled with my 7’s but in the end it was all good.”

Best result ever for Thovex and Baisamy

Indeed, it was a close result today as Mirabelle Thovex had knocked on the door to victory by stomping back-to-back 540’s to a frontside indy and an inverted frontside 720 to finish things off. In the end, she missed the sensation by only 1.6 points, but the 19-years-old had no reason to be disappointed at all: “I’m super happy. I really wanted to place on the podium as I never had done so before. I gave my best and it worked out.”

Her team mate Johann Baisamy, who also jumped on a World Cup podium for the first time, stated something pretty similar. “I didn’t really expect to make it today as, in contrary to yesterday’s qualifiers, I had a view issues with the speed. Of course I was going for the podium but it’s amazing that it worked out. I was waiting for this for quite a long time now,” explained the 21-years-old after his 23rd World Cup start.

The LG Snowboard FIS World Cup continues in Bardonecchia tomorrow. Different than originally planned, the schedule for the season’s second and last slopestyle has to be worked on due to a bad weather forecast. According to this, tomorrow will not only bring the qualifiers but also the finals.  

Results:

Result women: http://www.fis-ski.com/pdf/2011/SB/7167/7167RLR0.pdf

Result men: http://www.fis-ski.com/pdf/2011/SB/7168/7168RLR0.pdf

Halfpipe World Cup standings women: http://www.fis-ski.com/pdf/2011/SB/7167/7167WCS.pdf

Halfpipe World Cup standings men: http://www.fis-ski.com/pdf/2011/SB/7168/7168WCS.pdf

Freestyle Snowboard Overall World Cup standings women: http://www.fis-ski.com/pdf/2011/SB/7167/7167WCALL.pdf

Freestyle Snowboard Overall World Cup standings men: http://www.fis-ski.com/pdf/2011/SB/7168/7168WCALL.pdf