Maltais and Berg victorious at Snowboard Cross World Cup final's in La Molina
Dominique Maltais (CAN) and Paul Berg (GER) have clinched the season's final snowboard cross race of the 2014 FIS Snowboard World Cup tour in La Molina, Spain.
While this year's dominating female rider Maltais triumphed in the ladies' final on the slightly revised 920 metres long 2011 World Championships course ahead of Lindsey Jacobellis (USA) and Raffaella Brutto (ITA) and thus earned her career's 14th, it was the first time ever Berg was able to win a single race on the World Cup tour.
The 22-year-old, who had claimed victory in the sole Team SBX event in Montafon, Austria, beginning of the season together with fellow countryman Konstantin Schad, crowned his second complete World Cup season with a wire to wire in the men's final of four crossing the finish line ahead of Sochi Olympic silver medallist Nikolay Olyunin (RUS) and Regino Hernandez (SPA).
“I'm speechless. Yesterday, I was happy about my good result in the qualifications. Today, I just wanted to go for it and challenge the big names. I'm very happy that I did it.
I never thought about winning a World Cup this season. It's still such a surprise”, Berg said.
Due to his first rank finish Berg also jumped on the second position of the final SBX World Cup standings with 2,150. Omar Visintin (ITA, 3,076) took home the Crystal Globe while Christopher Robanske (CAN, 2,120) finished as third best rider of the SBX World Cup tour.
“It's rad! I didn't even expect to place that well in the World Cup standings. It's crazy!”
However, the up-coming talent of Snowboard Germany had to survive a very critical situation in the quarter finals when the regular rider had to handle a bad start.
Being on the inside line he came late to the first right turn and had to hit the breaks hard as his three rivals closed the door in front of him.
But when Italian's Tommaso Leoni and Omar Visintin took themselves out, in a very unnecessary way, Berg was able to advance another round.
Lucky for the two Italian boys, Visintin already had clinched the title yesterday when Jarryd Hughes (AUS) failed to qualify for today's knock out rounds.
“It was tough racing for me today. Unfortunately I was out in the quarter finals due to a crash”, the South Tyrolean tour champion explained before adding:
“I had a very good season, and it feels great to conclude it with a title. I tried to stay focused throughout the whole season, and this is what I did.”
Maltais stands out in La Molina and over the whole season
On the women's side, Maltais, who had placed on the podium in all six races this winter, claimed her fourth consecutive and fifth career title after three runner-up finishes and three wins with 5,400 ahead of Lindsey Jacobellis (3,760) and Alexandra Jekova (BUL, 2,850).
However, her season's third turned out to be the fantastic wrap of her competition winter as Maltais underlined her strength in an impressive way.
Breathing down the neck of Lindsey Jacobellis, one of the world's most respected female SBX athletes, the 30-year-old Quebecois waited patiently for the right moment to pass the US girl.
And she did so after half of the high-speed course finally bringing home another win.
“It was a great race on a great course. It was tight racing from quarter finals through finals. I pushed myself a lot because I wanted to finish the season with a big win”, Maltais stated.
“I knew that the Crystal Globe was waiting for me already. But I love what I do, so I really wanted to end the season on a good way. I'm very happy about my career's fifth title.”