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Secret Garden ready for Olympic SBX test event

Nov 26, 2021·Snowboard Cross
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Finally, we are here – at the very beginning of the FIS Snowboard Cross World Cup season 2021/22. And we are here in Secret Garden, China – the venue of the Olympic Winter Games 2022. One can feel the excitement in the air, as the athletes experience the venue and the course for the very first time.

The course is 1253 m long, its start is at an altitude of 2046m and it has 45 features. So, it looks like a promising new course here in China. For the test event, the course has been made almost identical as for the Olympics, however some features are built a little bit rounder and easier.

With a good weather forecast throughout the entire week, athletes got some good training sessions in and are now set to start-off the season in great style. Although the temperatures are a bit crispy, the sun is out and sending a magical spark over the Chinese venue.

Preparation time is over

The teams have been working really hard to prepare for the Olympic season, which features 10 single and two mixed-team events in 9 different resorts in the calendar and it seems athletes are more than ready to go.

It is for sure good to see 2021 Idre Fjall mixed team World Champ (together with teammate Jarryd Hughes) Belle Brockhoff (AUS) back in the start gate after her season-ending injury last year in Bakuriani (GEO). After an extensive rehab and good preparation, Brockhoff has definitely some goals to tackle this season.

Who to watch – women

Might we suggest, you take a closer look at some of the following ladies, as they have left quite an impression on us based on their performances last year.

For sure, we have “Ms. Moustache” Eva Samkova, who not only claimed the SBX overall crystal globe last year, but also won the 2021 World Champs bronze medal. The Czech athlete is also the owner of the Sochi 2014 Olympic gold and PyeongChang 2018 bronze medal.

In a pre-season interview, she told us that she would love to add another medal to her Olympic collection, so let’s see what shape we will find her in at the start gate in Secret Garden.

Looking onto the Italian side of things, Samkova’s rival Michela Moioli, who claimed World Champs silver last year and is the current Olympic Champion, will want to make a clear statement that she is here not to sit back and relax, but definitely to fight and defend some pretty important titles.

Oh, and then there is also Charlotte Bankes (GB), no other but the current World Champion, who had an amazing season last year with not only the mentioned gold medal, but two further podium spots, of which one was a victory.

Let’s see how these exceptional athletes will handle the brand new Olympic track here in China.

Who to watch – men

No doubt about it, if we are looking on the men’s side of things, we will have to see how Mr. “Threepeat” (three SBX crystal globes in three consecutive seasons) Alessandro Haemmerle from Austria will handle the new course. The exceptional rider has not yet made a medal at the Olympic games, so maybe the test event with a bit over 2 months to go until the Olympics, will be just what he needs to get best prepped.

Another young man has definitely caught our attention – Eliot Grondin from Canada. Not only jumping on the podium, but also claiming his first World Cup victory, World Champs bronze medal and Junior World Champs gold is just a very short summary of what happened for him last season. Thus, the young Canadian finished second in the overall standings and is definitely one to watch.

And let’s put one more name on the list: Lucas Eguibar (ESP). Yes, the current World Champion – definitely a “must” to watch out for. The Spanish rider always goes full send and we are convinced he will try to perform at his best in this very important season.

We do have some other riders on our watchlist as well, for instance young gun Merlin Surget from France, who claimed two podium spots last year and finished third in the overall ranking. And what about Mr. Glenn de Blois from the Netherlands, taking everyone by surprise and just going off and win the first World Cup of the season last year?! Up for another grand surprising World Cup opening maybe?!

Well, all is set here in China, let’s give the organizers and the athletes a big shoutout, we are looking very much forward to see who is going to be the fastest, where the best passes are going to happen and what features are going to be the most exciting ones to watch.

Qualifications are set for 11:30 LOC (04:30 CET) on Friday, November 26. You can follow via FIS App or on our website via the data page (link below).

Finals are going down on Sunday, November 28 at 13:00 LOC (06:00 CET).

WATCH LIVE (subject to change)

Sunday, Nov 28 at 13:00 LOC/ 06:00 CET:

TV: Eurosport 1 (Asia), ORF Sport+ (Austria), CZ TV Sport (Czech Republic), V Sport +, L’Equipe THE TEAM (France), Ziggo Docu (The Netherlands), Polsat Sport Extra (Poland), TDP (Spain), VSV (Sweden)

Livestreaming: FIS Snowboard Youtube Channel (check countries, where streaming is available HERE), Eurosport Player (Europe), CBC Sports Streaming (Canada), ESPN STAR+ (Latin America)


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