Although visibility was really poor at the second of back-to-back races in Big White Ski Reort in Canada due to fog, it did not stop snowboard cross athletes from giving a full show of good racing and passing throughout the finals.
Saturday’s winner Michela Moioli (ITA), Belle Brockhoff (AUS), Faye Gulini (USA) and Sofia Belingheri (ITA) made it into the women’s big final of the day. Despite a crash in the finish at semifinals and a very heavy nose bleed, it did not stop Belingheri from getting into the start gate for the final heat of the day.
All four athletes were out of the start gate sitting tightly side by side and only after the first roller section, Moioli managed to take the lead with Gulini sitting in second and Belingheri and Brockoff changing spots between third and fourth.
Gulini tried to get closer to Moioli but did not get too close. After one of the turns it was Brockhoff overtaking Gulini to get into second position and chasing Moioli, who was easily three board-lengths ahead.
This time Belingheri and Gulini were fighting over the third spot on the podium a little bit further behind Brockhoff.
It was only after the final jump that Brockhoff got enough speed to pass Moioli literally at the finish line only 0.08 seconds ahead of the Italian winner of Saturday’s competition. Australian fans, who had come to cheer on their favourite athletes were overwhelmed when they saw Brockhoff win on Australia Day.
“It is absolutely unreal! It’s more than just a win for me, I have come back from two ACL blowouts and this is just so huge! I am very happy,” a joyful Brockhoff said.
Lorenzo Sommariva takes second career win
On the men’s side of things the big final was presented with Italian Lorenzo Sommariva, the Austrian duo Jakob Dusek and Julian Lueftner and USA athlete Senna Leith.
Sommariva was able to get in first position quite fast and with a big margin ahead of Dusek and Lueftner with Leith sitting in fourth. Lueftner then managed to pass his Austrian team mate and after one of the turns it was Leith taking a better line, only to pass Dusek, pushing the Austrian into fourth.
Leith did overtake Lueftner in one of the following turns, but at the final jump, just before the finish, out of nowhere, Dusek jumped so far, making it a photo finish decision, which then proved that the Austrian had taken second, edging Leith into third.
It was Sommariva’s second ever podium and also second ever win, the first having been Cervinia, earlier this season.
The World Cup leader bibs are back in Italian hands with Moioli on the women’s side and due to Sommariva’s win, he stole the yellow bib back from Alessandro Haemmerle (AUT), who finished 6th and did not earn enough points to defend the leader bib.
Since the unfortunate circumstance that the FIS Snowboard Cross World Cup in Feldberg (GER) had to be cancelled due to lack of snow and warm temperatures, the next stop of the Tour will be in Spain’s Sierra Nevada on March 06-07.