Samková and Schairer clinch FIS Snowboard Cross Season Opener
Eva Samková (CZE) and Markus Schairer (AUT) won the first snowboard cross of the 2014 FIS World Cup season in Montafon.
The three-time Junior World Champion dominated the women's final like all of her heats before and relegated last year's winner Dominique Maltais (CAN) and 2009 World Champion Helene Olafsen (NOR), who overcome another knee injury, to second and third.
“It was a perfect day, everything went fine, instead my first qualification run. That wasn't the one. But I improved and posted the best time”, said Samková who secured her spot in the finals nailing it in the second run of the time trials this morning.
As a result, she 'only' entered the finals with start number 13 but quickly proved that she would have deserved #1.
“In the finals, I tried to have some good starts to avoid any kind of problems.” And that mission worked out. In all of her heats, the Czech girl got the hole shot and stormed down to the finish in first position.
In the end, she claimed her career's second World Cup win after Blue Mountain last February: “It's been the perfect start into the new season and I guess the six-week training camp in New Zealand is the reason for that.”
Dominique Maltais, the most dominating women on the circuit of the past three years and reigning World Cup title holder, came close to beat Samkova in the final run but had to cede the defeat.
“In the final, Eva (Samková) was very fast. My tactic was to follow her as good as I can. I tried to pass her but had a few mistakes so it didn't work out. But finishing second is a good start into the new season. I'm really stoked,” explained the 2013 FIS World Championships Silver medalist.
Home soil win for Schairer
On the men's side, local hero Schairer fulfilled his dream of a home soil win on the Seebliga.
At the season's first World Cup staged in Vorarlberg, Austria, the 2013 Vice World Champion came out on top of an exciting and close final edging Omar Visintin (ITA), who won the Montafon race last winter, to the runner-up position in what can be called a super-tight photo finish.
“It was a weekend you can only dream of. I won the qualifiers and the race,” cheered Schairer after his career's fourth win.
“Today, I just overslept the first two starts but was able to still win the heats. I'm super happy about this win in front of my home crowd. You could hear them scream at the start. That's the icing on the cake.”
Just like on the women's side, runner-up Visintin, who battled his way to the final in every heat with Schairer, was also stoked about the result.
“The race and the slope were great. It was a lot of fun. Markus (Schairer) was simply the fastest one out there and that was already obvious yesterday. He deserved to win and I'm glad about my second rank.”
Kevin Hill (CAN) rounded out the podium, celebrating his career's first ever World Cup podium.
“I felt good after the first heat. It was an awesome race for me. I was totally happy. Top-3 was all I could ask for.”