On Sunday March 5th, la Molina Ski Resort received the 48 riders qualified for the big final of the penultimate FIS Snowboard Cross World Cup of the season.
Pierre Vaultier (France) and Michela Moioli (Italy) were the winners of this weekend’s competition.
Snowfalls during the weekend left around 40 cm of fresh snow at La Molina increasing snow depths up to 260 cm.
The strong snowfall during the weekend was not an inconvenience for the event. The penultimate FIS SBX World Cup, which was held on March 5th at La Molina, hosted 32 men and 16 women who qualified after Saturday runs attended by over 100 best snowboarders in the world.
This Sunday, the tension was felt up to the big final. Riders were running the finals in groups of four in a circuit in which there were Banks, jumps and dubbies. Men started in 1/8 finals and women in Quarterfinals. In both categories there was a lot on stake due to the fact that there is only one race left in Veysonnaz (Switzerland) before deciding who will be the champion of the FIS SBX World Cup Circuit and will get the Cristal Globe.
Pierre Vaultier wins Gold at La Molina
Technique, speed, strategy and even contact and falls were seen during the men's final in which the winner was the French sportsman Pierre Vaultier. After this victory, in which he scored 1,000 points, he is now placed 2nd in the circuit with 3,450 points and therefore still has the potential to win the Globe. After the awards he said: "I did not expect to win here today. The start circuit FIS SBX World Cup has been difficult but little by little I've made good results and I've been on the podium in previous races. I feel really good and I am facing the World Championships in Sierra Nevada with my best level". About the race, the other three rivals of the "big final" had an encounter that left them behind Vaultier.
The bracket was completed by the Austrian Lukas Pachner, who finished the race 2nd and holds the 11th position in the circuit with 1.280 points. After crossing the finish line he said ”it was a very close race in each run. It is my first podium this season, so the Cup in La Molina helped me to make a good set up and motivate myself for the final in Sierra Nevada.”
The third in the podium was the American racer Nick Baumgartner, who has climbed four positions of the circuit and is 10th in the overall grid with 1,370 points. About the race he commented that "I knew it would be a difficult final. In a twist to the right I went inside and unfortunately I crashed, but I fought until the end to get on the podium, it was not easy. The riders with whom I met are good and I had to give the best in order to achieve the podium". About the World Championships in Sierra Nevada, "I am confident. I went to three World Cups and I returned with two medals, I hope to live up to the best".
The Italian sportsman Omar Visintin, who was fourth in this final has now been placed 1st overall with 3470 points. Alessandro Haemmerle, former interim leader of the world circuit, did not qualify for the race and has lost two positions in the circuit (3114.60) and he is now third.
The Basque rider Lucas Eguibar finally could not race due to a muscular strain. The athlete of the Royal Spanish Federation of Winter Sports (RFEDI) who qualified yesterday for the final on Sunday has decided, hours before the competition and along with the medical federations not to run in order to avoid damage Rid.
Michela Moioli wins women’s category
The name of the winner of the penultimate round of the World Cup was not decided until the last moment. Finally, first place went to Italian Michela Moioli. This result places her third in the provisional World Cup circuit with 3890 points. After the competition, Moioli said that "the race has been good mole, despite the fog today, I really like the circuit of La Molina and the fresh snow has been set up very well and everyone made efforts to get the track in optimum conditions”. She added that "yesterday I was second in qualifying and today I fought hard and won, it has not been easy and I am very happy. This victory places me to 3rd place overall and still have chances to be on the lead".
After finishing second in the race, Czech rider Eva Samkova has been placed provisional leader of the World Cup circuit. About the race she said it "was fun, although I did not do my best run l am proud of this position. After this result I have even more desire to reach the final in Veysonnaz, we are all very close with points and it will be difficult, but I am confident". About the ski resort she said "I have been several times in La Molina, in 2011 I did my best championships and I like it".
Third position was for the French sportswoman Chloe Trespeuch who,after adding 600 points, went up to 4th position overall with 3,240 points. The fourth finalist, also French Charlotte Bankes who made the fastest time in qualifying on Saturday, was disqualified.
With only one SBX World Cup left in Veysonnaz, those are the provisional cup standings:
Men’s world cup standings
#1 Omar Visintin (Italy) 3470.00 FIS points
#2 Pierre Vaultier (France) 3450.00 FIS points
#3 Alessandro Haemmerle (Austria) 3114.60 FIS points
Women’s world cup standings
#1 Eva Samkova (Czech) 4370.00 FIS points
#2 Belle Brockhoff (Australia) 4060.00 FIS points
#3 Michela Moioli (Italy) 3890.00 FIS points
A ski resort with experience in World Cup finals
With the World Cup Snowboard Cross FIS held in 2017, La Molina adds more experience in World Cup Finals. In 2015 it hosted the final circuit, in 2011 hosted the Snowboard World Championships and since the winter of 2008 held snowboard competitions of the FIS World Cup circuit.
La Molina has also organized several World Cups and World Championships IPC snowboard for athletes with disabilities, including testing SBX.
Photos by: Oriol Molas / La Molina