Bykova and Baumeister surprise in Kayseri
Milena Bykova (RUS) and Stefan Baumeister (GER) have prevailed in the penultimate PGS event of the 2017-18 FIS Snowboard World Cup tour which was staged in Kayseri, Turkey today.
Gusty winds made it a tough day in the office for the riders, but both, Bykova and Baumeister, dealt best with the challenging conditions.
Conditions which had forced Local Organisers to postponed the inspection and qualifiers this morning by several hours while also thinking of moving the start several gates down the slope. In the end, everyone's patience paid off and this season's eighth parallel giant slalom finally got underway – delivering quite a few surprises.
One of them was Russia's young gun Milena Bykova.
After dominating the qualifiers this morning, the 20-year-old racer kept the momentum finally bringing home her career's first in her 24th start beating the so far most dominant racer of the tour, Ester Ledecka (CZE), in the women's big final.
“It was an incredible day for me. Something I have dreamt of for a long time. Finally I did it, finally I won my first World Cup. I'm really happy,” she said after beating the reigning Olympic Champion and therefore becoming the second to do so this season in a parallel giant slalom event.
But the Czech superstar could easily live with it. By finishing second, Ledecka already locked in her career's fourth World Cup title, the second in PGS. With only one more race to come, none of her pursuers will be able to surpass her 6,540 points.
“It was a great day for me, although it was quite tough with the weather. But I enjoyed it. I need to congratulate Milena, she really deserved to win today. It was amazing to see her racing,” Ledecka stated.
In the battle for third, it was Daniela Ulbing (AUT) earning her first PGS podium crossing the finish line ahead of Ekaterina Tudegesheva (RUS).
In the men's event, Baumeister, who had struggled hard in the races prior to the Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang, was able to tie on to his strong performance in South Korea stepping up his game in the direct knock out finals.
After qualifying fourth, the 24-year-old Bavarian rode strong in the men's finals forcing his rival in the final heat of the day, Edwin Coratti, to go all in with the Italian falling after the intermediate.
“This is brutal. I didn't even expect anything like this for this season. Until the Olympics I did a lot of of testing, and that finally paid off. Placing sixth in South Korea was a real boost as I finally knew I could do it – and I did it today,” Baumeister said.
In an all-Slovenian small final it was Tim Mastnak coming out successful of his duel with teammate Rok Marguc finally securing his career's first podium in his 54th World Cup start.
World Cup leader Nevin Galmarini (SUI) missed the finals for the first time this season finishing 19th but was also able to secure his career's first crystal globe with a total of 4,930 points.
The 2018 Olympic Champion will therefore receive the coveted award in front of his home crowd as the final race of the PGS World Cup tour will take place on 10 March 2018 in Scuol, the town Galmarini calls his home.