After two highly successful World Championship competitions – one individual and one mixed team event – the SBX circuit is now getting ready for the next World Cup race in Austria’s Cross park in Reiteralm.
The Cross park has been developed over the past years especially as a permanent training opportunity for ski and snowboard cross athletes, but also with the idea in mind to host FIS, Europa and ultimately World Cup races. The Cross park offers a variety of lines with different levels of difficulty in regards to the elements and therefore has been established as a popular training opportunity for all levels of athletes, as well as a great venue for competitions.
It is however the first time that the Cross park Reiteralm will host a FIS Snowboard Cross World Cup competition, so we are really looking forward to this premiere.
Will Bankes continue her strong performance?
Re-entering the World Cup with a huge confidence boost will be for sure the newly crowned World Champion from Great Britain - Charlotte Bankes, who has clearly been feeling confident on her board lately after not only being the top qualifier at the World Champs in Idre, but also winning the gold medal.
Maybe a little hungry for revenge after not winning the highly anticipated gold, but silver medal, Olympic Champion Michela Moioli (ITA) will be seeking to come back strong here in Reiteralm and try to re-claim dominance in the women’s field at the World Cup standings.
For this, she will however need to find a strategy to battle Czech ace Eva Smakova, who has shown that she is back strong this season with a win at the second World competition in Valmalenco in January and claiming bronze medal at the World Champs.
Faye Gulini (USA), who is currently in the World Cup lead together with Eva Samkova, as they share the exact same amount of points, will try to keep up her good performance, as she claimed two third places in Valmalenco, but couldn’t quite get into the proper racing mode in Sweden, therefore not claiming a medal.
And then there is Australia’s Belle Brockhoff, who made it into the big final at the World Champs but crashed just before the finish right at the moment when a medal win was still possible. Brockhoff certainly made up for it the next day at the mixed team competition, where she won gold with teammate Jarryd Hughes.
Will Haemmerle be able to win on home soil?
Approaching the competition on home soil with a little bit of disappointment will be 2019/20 SBX crystal globe winner Alessandro Haemmerle, who became Vice-World Champion in Sweden. With the Austrian you can expect an extra spark of fire and hunger when racing at home, so he will be definitely one to keep an eye on.
But newly crowned World Champion Lucas Eguibar (ESP) definitely made a statement that he is back in the game and on fire, ready to battle it out with the guys for some more close and exciting photo-finishes.
Eliot Grondin, ladies and gentlemen, is definitely a young athlete to be betting money on this season. Making an incredible entrance into the World Cup season with a second place in Valmalenco, sitting in third position at the World Cup standings and claiming the bronze medal at the World Champs, the 19-year-old is clearly feeling comfortable and confident this season in his racing, so let’s see what he has in store for the Austrian course.
Time trial qualifications are scheduled for Tuesday, February 16 at 10:30 CET, which you can follow via live timing via FIS App or on our website.
Finals are slated for Thursday, February 18 at 11:30 CET. You can watch the finals LIVE on ORF 1 (Austria).