Schoeffmann and Baumeister victorious in season's PSL finale
Sabine Schoeffmann (AUT) and Stefan Baumeister (GER) have claimed victory in the 2016-17 FIS Snowboard World Cup season's last parallel slalom race which was staged in Winterberg (GER) in pouring rain today while Ester Ledecka (CZE) and Andreas Prommegger (AUT) capped off an incredible season with the alpine snowboard overall World Cup title.
But before things got fired up in front of some hundred spectators which were braving the weather and cheering for their favourites, it was time to say good-bye to Isabella Laboeck (GER) as the 2013 PGS world champion had announced her retirement from competitive snowboarding for health reasons.
Ongoing problems with her right ankle had led to the decision to go for one last run in front of a home crowd – as a result, the 30-year-old two-time Olympian performed as forerunner of the knock out rounds before the world's best were ready to go for one last race for the podium – and the last title decisions.
In fact, the battle for the four remaining Crystal Globes was still an open one; and it wasn't always the leading athlete to walk away with the precious prize and glory.
In the women's event, Sabine Schoeffmann earned her career's second crossing the finish line of the 350 metres long course on the Poppenberg slope only 10 hundredths ahead of 2017 PGS world champion Ester Ledecka therefore underlining, that she can deal with bad weather conditions.
Back in 2014 in Montafon, Austria Schoeffmann had secured her career's first win in a shower of rain, too: “I guess I'm a fan of rain, but yes, I'm glad that I was able to perform well despite the weather conditions, especially as things didn't went the way I wanted them to at the world championships. It was a tough week, but I'm happy with things turned out.”
With Ledecka finishing in second position, the Czech superstar who had earned a Gold and a Silver at last weeks world champs was able to head off Alena Zavarzina on the home stretch snatching the alpine snowboard overall World Cup title (4,860) with the so far leading Russian having to settle for second (4,500) after wrapping up her season with a seventh rank finish.
“It was a great race again. I am very happy to be here, it was a great organisation, the slopes were quite similar so it was a very nice race for everybody, and I am happy because I enjoyed every single run, and at the end I got the big Crystal Globe.
Actually, that was a big surprise because I have missed three races when I attended the alpine ski world championships last month. But I didn't think of of the title at all. So, I'm very happy about the title and finishing off the season as second of the PSL World Cup, too. It was a great season, and I'm already looking forward to the next one.
In today's battle for third, Daniela Ulbing was left standing with nothing after her Austrian teammate Julia Dujmovits had crossed the finish line first.
But the surprising winner of the 2017 world championships parallel slalom race was able to defend her lead in the PSL World Cup standings bringing home her career's first Crystal Globe (2,300).
“Of course I was going for the podium, and although I missed it, I'm very pleased as I won the PSL World Cup title. It's incredible. I'm super happy,” explained Ulbing
Over in the men's event, Baumeister beat Aaron March in the big final to secure his career's first with the slight advantage of 0.31 seconds on his rival from Italy.
Although having been defeated in the final run of the day, the South Tyrolean athlete claimed his career's first Crystal Globe as the fifth ranked rider of the 2017 parallel slalom world championships event moved onto the top of the PSL World Cup standings with a total of 1,560 with Baumeister (1,440) and former leader Christoph Mick (ITA; 1,410) wrapping up the season as respective second and third of the discipline ranking.
“It was tough today as it was raining all day long. I knew I have to give it everything I have to have a chance for the podium, and I have tried to concentrate on my racing. This went out pretty well.
I knew that I would have a slight chance for the Crystal Globe, but everything had to fall into place. And well, that's what just happened. So, I'm very happy. Taking the title is amazing. It was a dream of mine since I have been a little kid,” March said.
In the men's small final, it was Austria's Alexander Payer bringing home the third rank ahead of double Olympic champion Vic Wild (RUS).
Andreas Prommegger, fresh off two Gold medals from the 2017 world championships in Spain, placed 13th but finished off the season as dominating raceboarder securing the alpine snowboard overall World Cup title and therefore his career's third Crystal Globe.
“The whole season was crazy, especially the last week was intense. I had a very good streak with for wins in a row, which unfortunately ended today in tough conditions.
But, having the luck on my side, things went to my favour, so I was able to claim the overall World Cup title. It was an incredible season I would have never expected to experience,” the double world champion of the 2017 worlds said.
The alpine snowboard World Cup tour will close out the season tomorrow with the season's second PSL Team event staged in Winterberg on the same slope. It's the first time ever a German venue will host a team event. Finals are slated to take place at 10:15 AM CET. Check this link for LIVE TV times.
Full results of this season's final PSL World Cup staged at Winterberg, Germany can be viewed online.