Ledecka and Sobolev victorious in Alpine Snowboard World Cup season's opener
Ester Ledecka (CZE) and Andrey Sobolev (RUS) have triumphed in the 2017-18 season's first parallel giant slalom race which took place in Carezza, Italy today, where riders found a perfectly groomed slope and the best weather conditions to kick off their season.
Ledecka and Sobolev, both no strangers to the podium in South Tyrol and known for their good early season form, paved the way to victory with an outstanding performance in the qualifiers which gave them the advantage of course choice going into each heat.
A factor not to underestimate as checking the final brackets it became pretty clear that the blue course seemed to be a little bit in favour.
In the end, Ledecka, who had shocked the alpine skiing world two weeks ago by posting the best time in the training for the Lake Louise World Cup and wrapping up the downhill event in seventh position, added another top-3 results in Carezza to her belt.
“I had a great feeling the whole day. I'm very happy that I was able to compete here although it was quite tough to switch from skiing to snowboarding. I didn't have so much time to really adjust but obviously it was enough. It's great. I have to thank my team which did a great job again,” she said.
The reigning World Champion had already placed first and second on the Pra di Tori slope in 2015 and 2016, respectively, and also this year, the course's fall line with the steep top part and flat finish suited her the most.
Ledecka claimed her career's 10th edging off up-and-comer Ramona Hofmeister to the second rank which was equal to the German's best result on the circuit so far.
In the battle for third, last year's Carezza winner Ina Meschik (AUT) crossed the finish line ahead of Alena Zavarzina (RUS).
In the men's event, top qualifier Andrey Sobolev went all in to avoid another runner-up finish in South Tyrol like in the past two years and beat Switzerland's Nevin Galmarini in the final run of the day.
“Everything was perfect today, the slope was ideal as usual. I'm very happy that I was finally able to win here after my second place finishes in the last years. It's a good confidence boost going into the next two races in Cortina,” stated Sobolev.
Dario Caviezel, another strong Swiss athlete, rounded out the podium in third earning his career's first top-3 results 25 starts and five years after debuting on the tour in Carezza.
Two-time Olympic Champion Vic Wild (RUS) was forced to settle for fourth like his wife Zavarzina.
The Alpine Snowboard World Cup tour continues tomorrow and on Saturday with a parallel giant slalom as well as a parallel slalom under the lights scheduled in Cortina d'Ampezzo – the place where Ledecka and Sobolev stood atop of the PSL podium last winter, too.
With that in mind, Ledecka's words of her interview might sound like a threat to their fellow competitors on the tour: “I'm looking forward to Cortina and the next races. I hope it will be a good weekend.”