The FIS snowboard cross World Cup qualification runs took place this morning after an overnight strong snowfall that left 30 cm of fresh snow in the circuit.
The Basque racer, Lucas Eguibar, sportsman of the Royal Spanish Winter Sports Federation (RFEDI) got into the Sunday finals. Regino Hernández and Laro Herrero did not qualify by few tenths. Surprisingly, neither did the Austrian sportsman Alessandro Haemmerle, who is the actual leader of the World Cup Circuit.
This Saturday, during the classification races, 32 men and 16 women were chosen to compete in the finals of the World Cup snowboard cross (SBX) FIS which will take place on Sunday, March 5th with the Grup FGC station.
The Grup FGC station hosted this Saturday the FIS snowboard cross World Cup qualification rounds after an overnight strong snowfall that left between 30 and 40 cm of fresh snow in the Alabaus circuit. Despite the snow accumulation, the maintenance team was able to set up the circuit for the competition with only 30 min delay.
The qualifying round for the World Cup SBX FIS races were crucial in picking the 32 men and 16 women who will contest in the finals on Sunday, March 5th. In men’s category, the first 16 riders were qualified in the first run, then other 16 got into the final after a second run. In women’s run, the 8 fastest will make it through to the finals and then the other 8 will need to classify in a second run.
On Sunday, riders will start the final runs in groups of four to get to the big final. Speed and tactics will be key to go through jumps, banks and dubbies.
High competition in men’s category
74 riders competed in the qualifying runs. The fastest was Alex Pullin (4th in the FIS SBX World Cup Circuit with 2.340 points) with a time of 51.67. Second and third qualified were the Austrians Marcus Schairer (11th with 1.120 points) with a time of 51.96 and Lukas Pachner (24th with 480 points) who got into the finals with 52.07 seconds. The actual leader of the World Cup Circuit, the Austrian Alessandro Haemmerle did not qualify.
The basc rider, Lucas Eguibar, sportsman of the Royal Spanish Winter Sports Federation (RFEDI), got into the Sunday finals after caming 27th in the second round. After that he explained that during trainings “the circuit was slow because of the strong overnight snowfall. I have tried to reach speed in flats and absorb dubbies”. During the qualifying runs “sun came out and snow got harder, run was fester and we already had the competition wax, which is fester. I have tried to reach the feelings I had during training but I got too much speed and I made some mistakes”. About the second run, he said “I was able to do it as I planned and I qualified. I happy about that”.
Regarding Sunday’s competition, Eguibar added that “we hope that meteorology will be good. I feel comfortable with this snow and I hope to continue like that. If it snows, I will have to be harder on the other racers during runs because it will be harder to overtake”. About the competition, which will be held in groups of four, he said “it will be fun! Comparing to other circuits, this one is not that technical, but this kind of snow involves technic in order to not loose speed. I will have to do a good start, going flat and look for the hole!”
Eguibar, who holds the 10th position in the World Cup Circuit with 1.189 points and only 2 races left will have his chance to overtake some positions on the FIS ranking this Sunday.
The other two RFEDI snowboarders, Regino Hernández and Laro Herrero tried to do their best but could not qualify. Both assured that they are focusing their energies on the World Cups taking place next week in Sierra Nevada.
The RFEDI coach, Israel Planas, said “today was hard. Mistakes were not permitted because that could make a big difference and change everything. Those who adapted better to snow conditions are those who were able to qualify”. Regarding the team, he explained that “the idea during previous training days and qualifying runs was to learn for the competition” and referring to Eguibar “the goal was to qualify and I think that on Sunday he can do very well. He is a race with a very high qualified technique and also on other aspects. We have seen the best technique to flow without pressure and trying to accommodate to snow conditions”.
In the women’s category, there were 23 women amongst which, the 16 fastest will make it through to the finals. The best time was completed by the French rider Charlotte Bankes (8th in the World Cup Circuit with 1.590 points FIS) and a time of 52.35. Once she arrived at the finish line she was happy with her run “I am happy with the qualifying run I have made, even If the circuit was complicated because of the snow accumulation, I enjoyed it very much. The ski resort has done a very nice work in order to maintain the circuit in its best conditions”. About the competition, “I hope to do a good race, it will be very competitive and I like La Molina slopes”.
The Italian sportswoman Michela Moioli (3rd in the circuit with 2.890 points) came up 2nd with a time of 52.48 and the American Faye Gulini (9th in the circuit with 1.380 points) finished third with a time of 53.14. The favourite, the Australian racer Belle Brockhoff qualified 12th.
The Grand Finale
On Sunday, March 5th, the racers will compete in the last competition before the final race and the leaders for the 2016-2017 season will be determined. After five World Cup competitions, the main candidates for the title are the Austrian racer, Alessandro Haemmerle with 3.100 points in the men's FIS category, and the Australian, Belle Brockhoff, who leads the female category with 3.700 points. However, Haemmerle can lose positions in the ranking after not being able to qualify this Saturday.
The ski resort will be fully opened to the public. The test will take place at the resort next to the cafeteria and parking Alabaus. This area is accessible on foot for the public who wants to approach and have fun with the best snowboarders in the world.
The competition will be broadcasted on air by television from 11.30 pm.