Bergmann and Kummer triumph in Bad Gastein Parallel Slalom
The first of two parallel slaloms of the FIS Alpine Snowboard World Cup tour staged in Bad Gastein, Austria, today, brought a surprising winner and a favourite taking the Gold with Alexander Bergmann (GER) clinching his career's first and Patrizia Kummer (SUI) her career's ninth.
Bergmann, a 26-year-old from Berchtesgaden, whose best result was a ninth rank in 47 World Cup starts before, tellingly earned in Bad Gastein last season, demonstrated his carving skills in the enthralling and exciting finals staged in the single run format on the Bucheben slope by edging off local hero and last year's winner Andreas Prommegger (AUT) to second.
“It's such a relief. I can't get it yet that I actually won a World Cup. The most important thing was to make it to the top-8, the rest was just the icing on the cake,” the goofy rider said.
However, he also had a bit of luck after winning both, his semi and the final, with the tiny mere of only 8 hundredths each.
“Winning my duel in the round of the best 16 took a load off my mind. Ever since, it just went smoothly”, he said.
One man's meat is another man's poison. In this case, for Andreas Prommegger who still was able to make his bad start into the season forgotten and thus told the media at site: “It's bitter to lose the final that close but on the other hand I was the lucky guy in the semis.”
In his semi with Aaron March (ITA), the Alpine Snowboard Overall World Cup title defender only proceeded due to his better qualifier time.
Both athletes had stormed down the 270 metres long course head to head, staying side by side all the way down through the 21 gates before crossing the finish line at the same time.
“It's pretty rare that a person is out after being in a tie. Andi and I had a very good run. My first impression was that I made it but then I noticed the tie. So he went on due to the better qualifier time. That's hard but OK. I can live with that”, March commented the tight duel which was only one of many today.
Especially as the South Tyrol resident rounded out the podium as third after beating Sebastian Kislinger (AUT) in the small final.
Kummer becomes Ms Bad Gastein
On the women's side Patrizia Kummer celebrated her third win in Bad Gastein, her fourth in Austria thus demonstrating her preference for races in her neighbour country while also reenforcing her claim to the Alpine Snowboard World Cup titles.
The Swiss athlete, one of the race board's dominating faces of the past years, now sits in first of the PSL World Cup standings with 1,400 points and also leads the Alpine Snowboard Overall World Cup ranking with 2,400 points.
However, the 26-year old from Mühlebach had not expected a result like this.
“I can't believe it. I'm super happy. I never thought that I would be able to keep the momentum like this. I really enjoyed the day.
The slope was actually in a good shape given the worse conditions the Local Organisers were facing over the past couple of days. They did a great job!”
Multi-talent Ester Ledecka (CZE), who will not only compete in the parallel events of the snowboarders at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games but also in the super combined of the alpine skiers, clinched her career's best finishing in second position.
“It's amazing. I really enjoyed my first World Cup podium. It was tough because of the soft snow but still OK.”
Marion Kreiner (AUT) rounded out the podium as third while Ekaterina Ilyukhina (RUS) had to settle with the fourth rank.
The FIS Alpine Snowboard World Cup tour continues next Sunday in Bad Gastein with another parallel slalom (finals 1 PM CET). This time, the race will be staged in the re-run format while also bringing the first decision for a Crystal Globe. Right now, Kummer – as written above - leads the race for the PSL World Cup title with 1,400 points on the ladies' side of things while Sylvain Dufour (FRA, 1,290) leads the men's standings.