World champs lead field into season's last PSL at Winterberg
The world's best raceboarders have been heading out of Spain up north to compete in this season's last parallel slalom and PSL team event as Winterberg gears up to host the tour's grand finale for the third time in a row where the Crystal Globe for the discipline's and overall parallel ranking are handed over to this winter's most successful athletes.
As a snow storm mixed up the event schedule for the world champ events of the alpine snowboarders in Spain this week, the postponing of the parallel giant slalom race which actually took place yesterday had an impact on the World Cup programme in Winterberg.
The qualifiers originally scheduled for this afternoon have been moved to tomorrow morning 8:30 AM CET. The start of finals will remain at 11:25 AM CET, Team PSL event kicks off Sunday at 10:15 AM CET. Check this link for LIVE TV times.
However, Saturday is the day not to be missed as the title battles will finally get decided.
In the women's event, PSL bronze medallist Alena Zavarzina (RUS) is currently leading the race for the overall Crystal Globe with 4,140 points but has to fight off some fierce competition as 2017 PGS world champion Ester Ledecka (CZE; 4,060) and Sierra Nevada Silver medallist Patrizia Kummer (SUI; 3,840) are only behind by no more than 300 points.
While the top-3 seem to be decided with only the final race of the season missing, Ina Meschik (AUT; 2,970) could still finish the season off as third of the World Cup tour. But a win in Winterberg would be mandatory to do so whilst the Austrian racer, last year's second in Winterberg, would also have to hope that Kummer would not finish better than rank 19.
In the PSL discipline's ranking, five girls are still able to snatch the title although Austria's Daniela Ulbing, the 2017 PSL world champion, has gained quite a lead having won one race and having placed second in the other one of the season.
Her 1,800 points might stand strong, but a lot of things can happen on a parallel course, and riders like Ledecka (1,260), Sabine Schoeffmann (AUT; 1000), Julie Zogg (SUI; 950) and Nadya Ochner (ITA; 890) wouldn't mind taking home a surprising Crystal Globe win.
Over in the men's event, the race for the PSL crown is even more exciting as Christoph Mick (ITA; 1,260) has to hold off at least five strong racers including Kaspar Fluetsch (SUI; 1,040), Andreas Prommegger (AUT; 1,000), Andrey Sobolev (RUS; 1,000) and Roland Fischnaller (ITA; 950).
However, the South Tyrolean PSL World Cup leader has to handle a slightly broken ankle as well as ligament strains, too.
In addition, Aaron March (ITA; 760) as well as Benjamin Karl (AUT; 680) have also a slight chance to surprise the rest.
While the PSL title decision is therefore still a pretty open one, only three men are left in the battle for the overall alpine snowboard World Cup title.
Coming off strong of the last World Cup events with back-to-back wins in Korea and Turkey as well as two Golds in Spain, double world champion Andreas Prommegger (4,300) has the momentum on his side to secure his career's third big Crystal Globe after having been dominating the scene back in 2012 and 2013 already.
But watch out for defending champion Radoslav Yankov (3,950) as the Bulgarian athlete is only 350 points behind while Prommegger's teammate Benjamin Karl (AUT; 3,600), who brought home two Silver medals from Spain, has also an outside chance to snatch the title.
Qualifiers for the final PSL race of the season are scheduled for Saturday, 8:30 AM CET, finals for 11:25 AM CET. The Team PSL will take place on Sunday 10:15 AM CET.
- PSL World Cup Ranking women prior to Winterberg
PSL World Cup Ranking men prior to Winterberg
Overall alpine snowboard World Cup Ranking women prior to Winterberg
Overall alpine snowboard World Cup Ranking men prior to Winterberg