Ulbing and Mick triumph in Bad Gastein to take over World Cup lead
Daniela Ulbing (AUT) and Christoph Mick (ITA) have claimed victory at the 2016-17 alpine snowboard World Cup season's second parallel slalom which was staged today under the lights on the Bucheben slope.
Right in the heart of Bad Gastein, at the foot of the Stubnerkogel Mountain, both racers were also able to take over the lead in the race for the PSL World Cup title.
And a change of the lead in the World Cup ranking did just suit this classic of the snowboard World Cup tour which has been part of the show for 17 consecutive years now.
In fact, Bad Gastein did host its 55th snowboard World Cup competition today. And as if that would not have been enough, the parallel slalom staged in direct knock out rounds marked also the 150th ever FIS World Cup event in the Salzburg countryside.
As a result, the stellar crowd featured the likes of Kathrin Gutensohn and 1968 Olympic champion Olga Pall who had won the very first FIS World Cup race in Bad Gastein staged back on January 17, 1968.
Career's first for up-and-coming talent
Both former Austrian ski stars witnessed some thrilling head-to-head duels with best qualifier Daniela Ulbing bringing home the win in the women's competition.
It was her career's first after the 18-year-old shooting star had placed on the podium only once in her 10 World Cup starts before (2nd in Cortina Dec 2016).
“I don't really know what to say. I'm a little bit speechless. I'm super happy about my first win. It's nice as all of my friends are here and able to celebrate this one with me,” Ulbing said.
“I just tried to do what I can, and tried to stay calm, especially when I was behind. I tried to take it easy. I hope I can tie on to this in the next races and will try to keep the momentum.”
Dutch athlete Michelle Dekker secured her first ever World Cup podium celebrating a surprising second rank finish with Sabine Schoeffmann (AUT) rounding out the women's podium in third.
“It was a good race. I'm really happy about my first ever podium. Now, I'm excited to race the next World Cup race in Rogla end of the month. I hope I can do the same thing there,” explained Dekker who will miss out tomorrow's team event.
Mick does it again
On the men's side of things, Mick, a 28-year-old racer from Bolzano, celebrated his career's second beating Swiss racer Kaspar Fluetsch in a heartbeat final of the men's competition which saw local hero Andreas Prommegger rounding out the podium as third.
“I'm feeling great. I had some ups and downs in the qualification but managed to stay focused in the finals. I'm happy about my career's second win,” Mick stated.
And while the South Tyrolean celebrated his win on the shoulders oh his team mates, Kaspar Fluetsch was also pleased – although beaten by 0.09 seconds:
“It was a perfect day, a perfect event. I never thought to get that far as I had to qualify with start number 31. I'm very happy with this performance. This is a great start into the new year.”
The alpine snowboard World Cup tour continues tomorrow with this season's first parallel slalom team event slated to take place on the Bucheben slope at 1:30 PM CET (live o ORF 1 and Eurosport 2).
Full results of the parallel slalom World Cup in Bad Gastein can be viewed online.