All set for big showdown for the crystal globes
Michela Moioli (ITA) and Nikolay Olyunin (RUS) have nailed the best times in today's qualification for the season's last snowboard cross World Cup event in La Molina, Spain which will feature some tight fights for this season's World Cup titles when it all comes together in one final race.
While Moioli, the Italian rising star, was more than 1.5 seconds faster than the rest of the ladies field posting a 45.15 with Belle Brockhoff (AUS,46.70), Maria Ramberger (AUT, 46.79) and World Cup leader Nelly Moenne Loccoz (FRA, 46.82) in second, third and fourth, respectively, Olyunin, the 2014 Olympic silver medallist, brought home a smaller lead on the – compared to last year – due to the current snow situation shorter course.
Olyunin clocked in a 42.40 while German racer Konstantin Schad seemed to have overcome his flew which slowed him down in Veysonnaz, Switzerland last weekend, with a 42.73.
Third best qualifier was Lucas Eguibar (SPA) who is on the brink of a World Cup title win on home soil.
By storming down the course in 42.80 the 21-year-old 2013 junior world champion holds all the aces going into the final and last race of the season.
Eguibar currently sits on the top spot with 1,800 having a lead of 600 over Kevin Hill (CAN) who struggled a bit today with 43.67 finishing in 16th position.
Nevertheless, the 2015 world championships silver medallist from Canada was pleased with the course and the conditions:
“They did good with what snow they had. It's a bit smaller than what we used to on the World Cup tour but we will make it working. It's a fun course. I will try to go fast and do my best to win.”
However, even his career's first win wouldn't necessarily lead to the big coup and the crystal globe as Eguibar just looked too strong, although he wasn't pleased with his riding as the Spaniard explained:
“It was tough today. The snow was difficult to ride. But I'm feeling good. We will find out tomorrow where that leads to.”
Nelly Moenne Loccoz also enters tomorrow's race with high hopes: “Although they didn't have so much snow the course is pretty fun to ride. I hope we will have some sunshine tomorrow like always in La Molina.
Nevertheless, I will take it day by day and step by step,” the current World Cup leader (1,600) said.
The finals are most likely to feature some thrilling racing as the top-3 of the ladies ranking – Moenne Loccoz, Dominique Maltais (CAN, 1,500) and Moioli (1,450) – could meet each other in the semis where the battle of three for the crystal globe could get down to a duel fought out in the finals with – according to ABBA – the winner taking it all!