Raceboarders ready to hit the world champ gates
The alpine snowboarders are the last group of athletes who will join the action at the Sierra Nevada 2017 FIS Freestyle Ski and Snowboard World Championships.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, the carving specialists will compete for Gold, Silver and Bronze in a parallel giant slalom and parallel slalom event.
With the worlds best at site and more than just a handful riders able to handle the extra pressure of a such a huge stage, it is hard to indicate some favourites. However, there are a few boys and girls definitely worth to watch out for.
Especially as the weather might be a factor.
As we are only one day away from the first title decisions, the weather has drastically changed compared to the first half of the 12. FIS Snowboard World Championships.
Clouds have been covering the top peaks of the biggest mountain range of the Iberian peninsula while a low visibility and snow fall won't make it better to perfectly place those sharpe turns in the gate jungle of the parallel flagged courses which you have to set to be that one hundredth of a second ahead of your rival.
But having celebrated back-to-back wins at the recent World Cup stops of which the last one took place in sketchy conditions in Turkey, Austrian veteran Andreas Prommegger might finally lock in his career's first world championships medal.
Finally – if you will.
In so far 16 (!) world championships starts since 1999 (!), the regular rider has never made it on the podium but came close as fourth three times.
Maybe now, after 20 years as a pro on tour, it's time for the 36-year-old overall alpine snowboard World Cup leader to shine.
But as the alpine snowboard World Cup tour is wrapping things up next weekend we learned one thing this winter: everything is possible with Radoslav Yankov (BUL) having been giving Prommegger some hard times on the slopes so far.
The 2017 PGS World Cup title winner has descended on Spain with his career's second Crystal Globe under his belt and thanks to four podium finishes this season – of which one was a win - a strong confidence.
Talking about confidence, there is another Austrian who seems to be back to old strength. Four-time world champion Benjamin Karl wouldn't mind to take his career's fifth Gold which would make him the most successful male snowboarder at world championships.
Right now, he is sharing this 'title' with Jasey Jay Anderson (CAN) who has also made it over the pond to compete in his ninth (!) world champs.
Another rider aiming for Gold is Nevin Galmarini. The 2014 Olympic Silver medallist from Switzerland had a great start into the season but seems to have lost the momentum a bit in the recent races.
While we could go on with this list of podium threats including whizz kid Sang-ho Lee from South Korea, one rider will definitely miss the Sierra Nevada duels.
Zan Kosir, who was set to go to Andalusia yesterday, had to cancel the trip after his back problems occurred again and final tests showed that he wouldn't be able to perform as he has to to be in the mix for the top-3.
Over in the women's event, there are basically three girls who have made a lasting impression this season so far.
Besides 2011 world champion Alena Zavarzina (RUS), who just got crowned PGS World Cup title winner a few weeks ago, it's also Olympic champion Patrizia Kummer (SUI) who is aiming for her first Gold having already a Bronze and Silver in her bag.
And both top guns have delivered some great battles against each other this season so one would certainly not mind seeing a third duel for the Gold this week.
But Ester Ledecka, the 2015 PSL World Champion, has for sure something against it. Although she did a break from World Cup racing to compete at the FIS Ski World Championships in St. Moritz in February the Czech superstar has had some incredible results.
In five starts, she won three races and placed second once.
In addition, the Austrian, German and Italian team will also hope for a medal having had at least on girl on the podium this season so far.
Tuesday, March 14, PGS: qualifiers at 9 AM CET, finals at 1 PM CET
Wednesday, March 15, PSL: qualifiers at 9 AM CET, finals at 1 PM CET
Both finals will be aired LIVE in several countries. Click here for a TV update.