Samkova and Pullin triumph in second sbx race at Feldberg
Eva Samkova (CZE) and Alex Pullin (AUS) have claimed victory in this season's fifth snowboard cross race which was staged as second event of the Feldberg (GER) double Snowboard World Cup today.
While it was this season's second triumph for Samkova, Pullin earned his first in the running World Cup season on a perfectly shaped course on the Seebuck slope and in front of a stellar crowd.
However, it was actually best qualifier Samkova who impressed the hundredths of spectators in the finish area of the Black Forest venue most as she took a different approach compared to her competitors in the women's finals to secure her career's seventh.
Knowing that she had always been the last at the start, the 2014 Olympic champion decided to pull out of the gate with quite a gap but then went full throttle to finally pass her three rivals on the long and fast home stretch.
“I did that late start for the first time. We just decided after semi finals to do it because I was really bad at the starts. The timing was hard though because you don't know if you catch them again,” explained Samkova.
But the 23-year-old from Vrchlabi perfected her drag race skills, crossed the finish line as first and edged off four-time world champion Lindsey Jacobellis (USA) to the second rank.
Samkova had quite some adrenalin pumping through her veines after winning in an impressive fashion
“I caught them where I was planning to do so but you never know. But man, making it it's like... you feel like a God. It's crazy when you get out late and are the first one in the finish. That's the feeling why we do this sport,” Samkova added.
Chloe Trespeuch (FRA) had the luck on her side deciding the photo finish for third against World Cup leader Belle Brockhoff (AUS).
Crash in first turn key to historic Australian triumph
Over in the men's event, things went critical right in the first turn.
With three riders going into the left berm at the same time, Alessandro Haemmerle (AUT), being on the fast outside lane, touched the tail of best qualifier Alex Pullin (AUS) before catching the wrong edge and washing out together with Hagen Kearney (USA) over the first step down with the US-American landing hard on his back before being able to finish the race on his feet.
“Everybody went for it. I had the most speed and didn't know where to go with it as I was trapped between two riders. Then I hit Pullin's board, caught the wrong edge and took Kearney with me. I'm happy that nobody got hurt,” said Haemmerle who played the major role in the crash.
However, it was Pullin capitalising on the carnage which took place behind him to earn his career's seventh and a perfect redemption for yesterday's disappointing early out in the eighth finals.
“Yesterday was terrible, but I learned a lot of yesterday's qualifiers. It's been perfect and a really great turnaround for me because yesterday was pretty crappy although wining and losing is part of the sport. I'm really stoked,” Pullin stated.
As 2016 X Games gold medallist Jarryd Hughes (AUS) was able to avoid the crash in front of him, the rider from down under made it a 1-2 double for Australia – the countries best result in World Cup history.
Never before, two riders from Australia had placed on the podium together.
The men's podium
Alessandro Haemmerle rounded out the podium as third earning back the World Cup lead from Omar Visintin (ITA) again who ranked eighth today – the first time this season that the rider form South Tyrol missed the big finals.
As a result, “the focus is now on La Molina. I will focus on the Crystal Globe trying to make it in the finals there. And then it's time for the worlds and hopefully a medal,” said the new World Cup leader form Austria.
The snowboard cross World Cup tour takes a break of three weeks now with the next race scheduled in La Molina, Spain on March 4 and 5, 2017.
Full results of this season's fifth snowboard cross World Cup staged in Feldberg, Germany today can be viewed online.