Boardercross racers take over 2018 Olympic venue
Just a few days after the slopestyle specialists have left the Bokwang Phoenix Park, home of the next Olympic Winter Games snowboard competitions, the snowboard cross athletes have descended on Korea to compete in this season's fifth World Cup race which will serve as official test event for PyeongChang 2018.
With White Industries Ltd run by Jeff Ihaksi (CAN), who was responsible for the 2010 Olympic course, in charge as official course builder and the world's best athletes on hand, the first ever sbx World Cup on Korean soil will be an anyone's game on a brand new and purpose-built track.
Coming off hot from the Sunny Valley event last weekend are reigning Olympic champions Eva Samkova (CZE) and Pierre Vaultier (FRA). Both were dominating the competition in the Ural Mountains and will try to keep the momentum at Bokwang Phoenix Park.
With three consecutive podium finishes under his belt, it's first and foremost Vaultier who is in a great shape right now and who underlined that he can deal with all sort of courses, especially such big ones featured in Russia – and now in Korea.
Nevertheless, it will be interesting to see who he and the others handle the jetlag, especially those athletes who arrived late after a crazy trip from Russia and didn't had much time to adjust to the new time zone.
But despite this little setback, riders dealt well with the course during today's official training so everything is set for a thrilling and action-packed event on a fun track which not only offers a lot of air time but also a lot of opportunities for passing manoeuvres and therefore could make the race for the Crystal Globe even more exciting as it currently is.
As the US roster which had skipped last weekend's race is at site, Lindsey Jacobellis (USA, 1,750) is back to business trying to reduce the gap to current World Cup leader Nelly Moenne Loccoz (FRA, 2,720) who already lost some of her comfortable lead in Russia with the top-3 from Sunny Valley, Samkova (2,560), Michela Moioli (ITA, 2,400) and Belle Brockhoff (AUS, 2,100), being right at her back,
In the men's event, Vaultier (2,980) will try to defend the top position in the ranking against Nikolay Olyunin (RUS, 2,500) while Alessandro Haemmerle (AUT, 1,740), Alex Pullin (AUS,1,700) and Christopher Robanske (CAN, 1,508) are already facing quite a gap.
Qualifiers will kick off tomorrow, February 25th, 2016, at 9:50 AM local time (1:50 AM CET).
The finals are scheduled for Saturday, February 27th, 12 PM local time (4 AM CET). The full schedule can be viewed online.