Fresh off of the 2021 FIS Snowboard Alpine World Championships competition earlier this week, Saturday saw another thrilling race to go down on the sunny slopes of Rogla (SLO), which wrapped up what was another successful parallel giant slalom World Cup campaign. Germany’s Ramona Theresia Hofmeister and Slovenia’s Zan Kosir took the top spots in respective women’s and men’s competitions, with Hofmeister and Italy’s Roland Fischnaller defending the season’s top World Cup honours by taking home the parallel giant slalom crystal globes.
Perfect weather and a dynamic course allowed the sport’s best to shine once again this week, and with plenty of tights heats throughout the day, the event in Rogla concluded another highly entertaining PGS World Cup season on a high note.
In the women’s competition Ramona Theresia Hofmeister was back to her winning ways, taking her third PGS victory of the season. Hofmeister edged out the likes of Michelle Dekker (NED), Larissa Gasser (SUI) and Julie Zogg (SUI) before facing Sofia Nadyrshina (RUS) in the big final.
Once there, Hofmeister kicked things off strong, storming out of the starting gate to gain 0.3 sec advantage over Nadyrshina at the first intermediate time. The brand new PSL World Champion Nadyrshina, however, would quickly start to close the gap through the middle section of the course, loosing only 0.01 sec by the second intermediate time. And when it all looked like Nadyrshina was actually coming into the lead, she made a tiny mistake just four gates from the finish line, leaving Hofmeister with enough space to win the race by a very small margin of just 0.03 sec.
With the Saturday’s competition acting as the final PGS event of the season Hofmeister was awarded with the FIS Snowboard Alpine World Cup small crystal globe for winning the giant slalom classification. In five PGS races in 2020/21, the 24-year-old Hofmeister recorded three victories, one runner-up position and one third place, finishing in top-3 in every single PGS race of the campaign.
“I can’t describe this feeling right now,” said Hofmeister, “I’m so in love with Rogla, with this place and this slope. I’m just so thankful. Winning the PGS globe for the second year in a row feels just amazing.”
With Hofmeister on top of the podium, consequently the brand new PSL World Champion Nadyrshina finished the day in second place, while also wrapping up the PGS World Cup season in a runner-up spot.
Julie Zogg of Switzerland completed the women’s podium in third place, after holding off Austria’s veteran Claudia Riegler in the small final.
Over on the men’s side Zan Kosir was on a mission, stepping it up on Saturday for his third top-3 finish in 2020/21 campaign and his very first win on the home venue in Rogla. While many favourites including Benjamin Karl (AUT) or Dmitry Loginov (RUS) struggled to put down clean runs on Saturday, Kosir confidently raced to victory, while facing some tough match-ups against Sangho Lee (KOR), Aaron March (ITA) and Edwin Coratti (ITA), and finally top qualifier Andrey Sobolev (RUS) in the big final.
Once in the big fianl, Kosir left no doubt on who was the best athlete of the day, leading the way from start to finish and crossing the line .41 sec ahead of the bronze medallists from the PGS World Championships race staged at the venue just a couple of days before.
“Finally,” said Kosir, “But honestly I didn’t expect it to happen today. I was pretty disappointed after the World Championships and the last three days I basically spent on my sofa doing nothing. It’s my fifth podium here in Rogla, but my first win, so I’m pretty happy to be able to finally beat my Russian friends here.”
Sobolev had to settle for the second place on the day, while Oskar Kwiatkowski of Poland rounded out the men’s podium in third place, after coming victorious in the small final match-up against Italy’s Edwin Coratti.
While many favourites for the overall PGS World Cup victory failed to deliver on Saturday, with Sluev, Loginov and Karl surprisingly not even making it through the qualification rounds, it was Roland Fischnaller, who came away victorious and claimed his second consecutive PGS crystal globe.
By taking 29 points into PGS ranking for his ninth position on the day, Fischnaller managed to jump from third to first place, while consequently winning the globe just one point ahead of Sluev, and two points ahead of Karl. With just two points separating top-3 riders, all of a sudden the 2020/21 men’s PGS World Cup tour became the most contested campaign in the recent history.
“Today I won the small PGS globe by one point and it feels great,” said Fischnaller, “But I also have to say that I also lost the overall World Cup in the past by one, or two, or three points so this time the luck was on my side. The level in men’s snowboard alpine is very high so you have to be on top of your game every single time.”
“So today it was a big surprise, and I was already on the ski lift heading home, when someone told me that I might want to stay here for the awards ceremony. All in all I’m super happy and really motivated for the next year’s Olympic Games in China. I have a strong team behind me and my snowboard rides super fast, which is very important. I’m also very happy for Zan (Kosir) for his victory today.”
The FIS Snowboard Alpine World Cup is now heading for a little break, just to come back in two weeks of time for the final World Cup event of the season in Berchtesgaden (GER), where the final PSL as well as PRT events will take place on March 20-21.