Ester Ledecka and Zan Kosir triumph in Bad Gastein
Facing good snow conditions and a cloudy sky, 100 riders had entered this season's third event of the Alpine Snowboard World Cup tour with high hopes; especially as it was the last real form check on World Cup level prior to the up-coming World Championships in Kreischberg, Austria (Jan 15th to 25th). Actually a perfect set-up for World Cup races #49 and #50 for Bad Gastein, still the number three ranked in the all-time World Cup hosting list.
However, it was a Black Friday for the hosting nation which witnessed a historical defeat with no rider on the podium. In the past years, almost one member of the OESV has placed in the top-3.
In contrary, Ester Ledecka (CZE) and Zan Kosir (SLO) did better today leaving a vital proof that they are in top form for the major event bringing home their career's second World Cup wins.
Having had a third and second place finish in Bad Gastein to her belt already, Ledecka, who had missed the first two races of the current World Cup season due to a concussion, completed the medal set ahead of 2014 Olympic PGS Champion Patrizia Kummer (SUI), Julie Zogg (SUI) and Selina Jörg (GER).
After she had claimed her fourth podium finish in her 14th World Cup start, the Czech athlete, who also competes for her home country in alpine skiing events, said: “It was a perfect race for me. I chose the red course in the finals which was the right choice I guess, although there wasn't so much of difference between the courses. The Organisers did a great job.”
And so did the 19-year-old who just started to train again after Christmas bringing home a total of six perfect runs over the whole course of the day: “I had to take a longer pause because I fell hard on my head at Dachstein just two days prior to the World Cup opener in Carezza. So I couldn't be happier with the result. It's a great confidence boost for the World Champs, too.”
Kummer, who had won the last three parallel slalom events at Bad Gastein was also pleased with the result also she missed her four-peat on the 270 metres long Bucheben slope by 62 hundreds.
“It was a good race, and it was tough, too, because I had to take the other course in my last run. I didn't know how the course's condition was at all. Then I went to straight and off she went. There is no room for mistakes,” the Overall Alpine Snowboard World Cup title defender said after her season's first podium finish.
Kosir tops podium and takes over World Cup lead
In the men's competition, top-qualifier Kosir, who had to settle for second at the so far two parallel events of the season, also claimed his career's second beating today's stunner Christoph Mick from Italy, who brought home his first ever podium finish in his 44th World Cup start, in the big final.
It was finally the result he was going for ever since his career's first win on the same slope two years ago.
No wonder, that the two-time medallist of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games was delighted about his victory, a victory earned in front of a huge Slovenian crowd which had travelled to Bad Gastein with buses once again.
“What else can you do if so many people drive here and support you. They have supported me over the past years, and I just cannot disappoint them.
Every time when we come to Bad Gastein I think about the victory because I already won here before. And my goal is always to improve the results I already have reached”, Kosir said, who confessed that he started pretty nervous after haven't slept very well last night.
Patrick Bussler, who celebrated a successful comeback after a long-time knee injury (bacterial infection) rounded out the men's podium as third crossing the finish line in the small final with the tiny advantage of three hundreds over Andrey Sobolev (RUS).
The FIS Alpine Snowboard World Cup tour continues in Bad Gastein tomorrow with this season's second Parallel Team Event (PSL) at 1 PM CET.