Samkova and Douschan underline good form
Two and a half weeks ahead of the season's World Cup opener in Montafon, Austria, reigning Olympic champion Eva Samkova (CZE) and Hanno Douschan (AUT) have triumphed in this season's first Europa Cup race staged on the Pitztal glacier which saw a huge field to participate.
Facing a total of 65 women and 125 men including athletes of the strong World Cup teams from Australia, Austria, Canada, Spain and the US of A competing on the long course built by Austrian Head Coach Tom Greil, organisers decided to run the first heats yesterday cutting down the field to the best 64 before getting into real business today in slight snowfall .
In the end, Samkova crossed the finish line in the ladies final ahead of Zoe Bergermann (CAN), Maria Ramberger (AUT) and Carle Brenneman (CAN).
In the men's event, Douschan edged off 2015 World Cup title winner Lucas Eguibar (SPA) and 2009 and 2015 world championships bronze medallist Nick Baumgartner (USA) to second and third with Regino Hernandez (SPA) being forced to settle with the fourth rank.
Just like Samkova, Douschan had clinched all of his heats on his way to his career's second Europa Cup win before stepping up his game in the men's final by passing so far leading Spaniard Eguibar in the last turn.
“It was a perfect day for me, taking the risky line in the finals paid off for me,” said the 26-year-old from Carinthia.
“Except of one all of my starts were very good. Winning a race like this, which is packed with a strong and deep field, is a boost for my confidence and also a proof that my preparation was right.”
Full results can be found online:
Tomorrow, Thursday, November 26th, will bring the second Europa Cup race of the season also staged on the Pitztal glacier. Things will get underway at 10:30 AM CET.