Cox and Iwabuchi victorious in season's sole slopestyle ANC
The Australian New Zealand Continetnal Cup staged at Cardrona Alpine Resort near Wanaka served as perfect lead-up to the season's slopestyle World Cup opener beginning of September and saw Australian and Japanese riders dominate.
While Matthew Cox (AUS) ruled the men's finals it was Reira Iwabuchi to lead a Japanese podium sweep on the women's side of things with riders facing unstable weather.
Gusty conditions and variable visibility made it hard for athletes to land their runs in the two-run, best one count final and shook up results with some of the top qualifiers like unable to bring down a decent run.
USA’s Lyon Farrell, the top qualifier who had stomped a cab 9 tail, front 10 and backside 12 on the jump line yesterday, missed out a better result due to the weather conditions.
However, with the ANC event not only serving as warm-up for the Audi quattro Winter Games but also having an impact on the Olympic qualifying process, many riders tried their best to step up their game.
So did men's winner Matthew Cox for whom a better position on the road to PyeongChang was the main motivation to push for victory.
“I really wanted to win, I needed the points for Olympic qualifying, and a win here opens up a lot of doors for me,” explained Cox.
“The weather was pretty bad this morning and I was worried that the competition wouldn’t go ahead. I decided just to get my first run down and landed a cab 9, front 7, back 7 and then thought, what next?
I decided to go for broke and put down the run I really wanted. Everything just clicked and on my second run, and I landed cab 9, front 10, back 10.”
Japanese riders rounded out the men’s snowboard podium with Takeru Otsuka second and second best qualifier Hiroaki Kunitake third.
Japanese riders also made a clean sweep of the women’s snowboard podium with Reira Iwabuchi first, Yuka Fujimori second and Hikari Yoshizawa third.
Iwabuchi led the field by over 20 points and her first run score would have been enough for the win. However, she still decided to up the level and landed a huge back 7 off the final jump in run two.
Full results here.