Jacobellis and Vaultier crowned SBX World Champions
It was another warm and sunny day here in Spain where the 4th snowboard day of the Sierra Nevada 2017 Freestyle Ski and Snowboard World Championships brought the first real racing action to the main stage.
The best 24 ladies and 48 men from Friday's qualifiers were set to go for Gold, Silver and Bronze in a snowboard cross event which left nothing to be desired on the purpose built and 1,117 metres long track.
After almost two hours of battling with their rivals and the soft snow conditions Lindsey Jacobellis (USA) and Pierre Vaultier (FRA) finally stood atop of the podium being crowned the 2017 SBX World Champions.
Two big names of the scene ready to reign for the next two years but also two riders with a totally different background to the FIS major event.
While Jacobellis is no stranger to the world championships podium, Pierre Vaultier finally snatched his career's first top-3 result at the worlds.
In a heartbeat women's final, Jacobellis crossed the finish line first beating Olympic Bronze medallist Chloe Trespeuch (FRA) and Michela Moioli (ITA) who repeated her Bronze medal win of 2015 in a photo finish decision to walk away with her career's fifth Gold.
The 31-year-old from Stratton, VT has won every SBX world championships race she has been competing in: “I mean, I don't plan it. It was really hard to see how things were going to go down today. I knew if I just got the best start, then I knew I had a shot. But as we know my starts aren't always the best. So, I just tried to give it everything I could and not really be distracted by other riders who were coming to peripheral vision. As soon as you get distracted you miss the transition. Everything was so quick, you had to be super precise.”
Being only one title away from the most decorated rider at world championships as Karine Ruby (FRA) had claimed six titles in her career Jacobellis, who has now successfully defended a WCS title for the second time, expressed the importance of her fifth win:
“Just as the women's level continues to increase this title is by far the hardest, and it was the most rewarding.”
Over in the men's event, reigning Olympic champion Vaultier finally got what he was working for for quite a long time.
Having underlined his claim on the title last Friday by posting the best time in the qualifiers the father of one kept the momentum of the time trials and rode as strong as one was expecting him to do so.
However, he still faced some fierce competition in the final heat of the men with Lucas Eguibar (ESP) and Alex Pullin (AUS) giving him a hard time and no rest on the way down to the crowd which was going insane hoping for a home soil win of the local favourite.
But in the end, it was Vaultier who got the hole shot and kept the lead from the start until the bottom of the course edging off the Spanish top gun and the two-time world champion from down under to the respective second and third rank.
“I can't say much. I'm exhausted. I felt so much pressure, but I was capable to handle it. There is not a tiny bit of energy left in my body right now.
It's overwhelming. I want to cry but I won't. I have been waiting for this so long, I gonna need a couple of days to realise what just happened,” Vaultier said right before the flower ceremony whilst also adding that “tomorrow is another race, but I don't know yet if I can race in the condition I'm right now.”
The 12th FIS Snowboard World Championships in Sierra Nevada, Spain continue tomorrow with the first ever snowboard cross team event starting at 12 PM CET. Click here for an update on the TV times.