Despite the fact that qualification had to be cancelled due to very heavy snowfalls on Friday, the OC would not let a ton of snow get into the way of a fantastic snowboard cross race under the beautiful view of the Matterhorn. Shapers and helpers were up all night to get all the snow out of the course. And the tremendous efforts lead to the outcome everybody wished for – a SBX course ready for racing.
Since there was no qualification, race day started with quali heat runs for 8 women and 16 men and then everything was ready to head into finals of top 48 men and top 24 women as scheduled in the racing format with heats of six.
On the women’s side, last week’s Montafon winner and Cervinia title defender Eva Samkova (CZE) had a good start into the race, making it look as if she was on fire and would march through today’s competition again. However, Samkova missed a gate in one of the banks in the semifinals, which caused her to earn a DNF and so she could not fight to defend her title anymore. However she solidly won the small final, making it into 7th place, after the women’s small final saw 5 athletes crash on their way to the finish.
Michela Moioli managed to win the big final after super tight racing with Chloe Trespeuch from France, who was leading for a while, but after one of the jump, Moioli fought her way into first position, making clear, she wanted to take today’s home soil win. Finishing in third was also Italian Sofia Beringheri.
On the men’s side, Alessandro Haemmerle, also last week’s winner had an unbelievable start into the competition, finishing every heat first. He seemed unstoppable, but then a bad crash of his brother Luca Hammerle delayed further racing, since he needed to get medical help in the finish, before heading to the hospital in Aosta for further examination.
This could be the reason why Alessandro Hammerle had a rough start in the semifinals, falling behind the leaders of the heat, but then he spectacularly fought his way back into the front, only to fall after a jump, so that was the end of the big final journey for him, but he ended up in solid 7th place, winning the small final.
The big final men saw two Italians racing for the top spots on the podium on home soil. Lorenzo Sommariva and last year’s Cervinia winner Emanuel Perathoner. The Italians were accompanied by Merlin Surget (FRA), the German Paul Berg, and Cameran Bolton (AUS) and Eliot Grondin from Canada. Surget managed to be the first out of the startgate, but left the door open for Sommariva to make a quick pass and earn his maiden win. At the first third of the race, it looked as if title defender Perathoner would end up in sith position. He proved everybody wrong and managed to do some excellent passing up until third position and then, finally, like Moioli, using the jump for some airtime and landing in second position, which he then managed to keep until the finish line.
It was a great day for Italian snowboard cross with Moioli and Sommariva taking the top spots on the podium and also taking over those yellow leader bibs – forza Italia!
It is now time for a little Christmas break, get those cookies and presents in, before we head to the other side of the pond, where Big White Ski Resort in Canada will be welcoming the snowboard cross circuit for the very first time. Competitions will be going down January 24-26 including a team event. We can’t wait!