Somaini and Kleveland rule in Moenchengladbach
The third competition of the 2017/18 Big Air World Cup season went down on Saturday night in Moenchengladbach, Germany, as part of the second-annual ARAG Big Air Festival, with Switzerland’s Carla Somaini taking top spot for the ladies and Norway’s Marcus Keveland knockin it down for the men’s victory.
Conditions were perfect under the lights at Moenchengladbach’s SparkassenPark, allowing the riders on hand to focus on showing their best stuff on what was one of the nicest stadium jump set-ups the big air World Cup tour has seen.
And, with 16,000 spectators ready to rock like their idols did, the final's line-up was keen to push its limit with some heavy tricks thrown down.
Somaini who had already stood out in the women's qualifiers this afternoon earned her career's first with a backside 720 mute and a frontside 720 tail.
With some massive air time added to both tricks, the 26-year-old who had never placed on the podium before, earned a total score of 175.00 surprising herself the most with the result:
“I never thought of anything like this when I got up this morning. Especially as I couldn't really train on the rainy practise day before. But today was just great. Everything came together. Landing my first trick was so important for me to do well today. I'm super happy.”
Miyabi Onitsuka (JPN), last year's third of the iconic event staged in the SparkassenPark which normally serves as a hockey field, took home second keeping the momentum from her runner-up finish at the Air+Style Beijing last weekend with a 172.50 for her cab 900 stalefish and backside 720 mute.
Christy Prior (NZL), finally fully back to competition after struggling with a prolonged knee injury, rounded out the podium in third with a 160.75.
The Kiwi could have gone for an even better result trying to boost her score for either her frontside 720 lien off toes or her double back flip indy but decided to enjoy a decent method in her third run celebrating the fact that her riding wasn't as rusty as she had it expected to be.
“I have kind of been in and out again over the past two years,” she said. “I'm so stoked. I'm so happy about my riding coming back. I'm so glad that I made it to the finals and that I landed both of my tricks. I could have gone up there again trying to make them bigger but I wanted to do a method because I was so hyped.”
While the women's event saw some close competition and one happy comeback girl, the men's contest was clearly dominated by spinning wonder Marcus Kleveland.
The 18-year-old who had already ruled the Slopestyle World Cup opener in New Zealand three months ago triumphed with a total score of 191.75 for his backside 1440 stalefish and cab 1440 melon.
He therefore took his career's third with an advantage of more than 20 points on runner-up and reigning Junior World Champion Yuri Okubo (JPN; 168.50) who stomped a backside triple cork 1440 mute as well as a switch backside 1260 mute.
Kalle Jarvilehto (FIN; 164.50) finished in third position to celebrate his career's first World Cup podium while Okubo also made it in the top three for the first time.
But the Japanese rider also took over the Big Air World Cup lead while Anna Gasser (AUT), who sat out the Moenchengladbach event to recover from an ankle injury, is still leading the women's standings.
The Big Air World Cup tour will continue next week with this season's penultimate event slated to take place in Copper Mountain, CO on Dec 8 and 10, 2017. In addition, this season's second Halfpipe World Cup will also take place in the same resort on Dec 7 and 9, 2017.