Media write up taken from fis-ski.com.
First Val Thorens SX race 2019 in the books
The tension in the air was noticeable, the wait was finally over and ski cross athletes excited to get back into the start gate. The weather odds were in our favour with a bluebird sky and sunshine all the way to enjoy a great action-packed ski cross show with crazy take-overs, long jumps and of course breathtaking moments in the famous negative turn of Val Thorens’s course.
The Cross Alps Tour saw on the women’s side a very strong Fanny Smith, who had won the ski cross Crystal Globe last year. It seemed as if she would continue her very successful ride, however her ski twisted in the semi final, which for a second gave the spectators a heart-attack, because it looked as if her knee was going to blow, however Smith showed nothing of pain in the small final, which she won and ended up in 5th place.
The women’s big final however looked like a match between Canada vs. Sweden. Last year’s Cross Alps Tour winner Sandra Naeslund (SWE) fought her way from sitting in third position behind Canada’s Marielle Thompson and India Sherret all the way to a super tight photo finish situation with Courtney Hoffos (CAN), who managed to claim her first podium spot in only her third World Cup race. India Sherret managed to finish in third position leaving World Champion Marielle Thompson off the podium.
On the men’s side, Kevin Drury (CAN), who had also won the qualification the day before, was just on fire. He battled every heat down the super technical course and proved that he was the strongest, fastest and smartest athlete of the day. Probably a bigger surprise is that Frenchman Youri Duplessis Kergomard finished in second position also performing very strongly throughout the day. It was the first podium spot out of eleven World Cup races for the 23-year-old. Rounding out the podium was Ryan Regez (SUI). The always positive and smiling Swiss athlete managed to race super fast today, even leading the heat for quite a while, until Kevin Drury managed to pass him like a rocket and then also having slight troubles in the negative turn, which led to third position, kicking Val Thorens’s own Jean-Frédéric Chapuis off the podium.
Last year’s SX Crystal Globe winner Bastien Midol (FRA) was unlucky and already got kicked off in the eight final, same as Swiss veteran Alex Fiva, who today had his 100th World Cup race.
Of course, since it was the first race of the season and of the Cross Alps Tour, today’s winners are also Cross Alps Tour leaders, however tomorrow there will be a new day and a new race and who knows what is going to happen.
Better tune in tomorrow to not miss out on another day of action-packed ski cross competition, we start at 11:00 CET!