Ruka (Finland). The final Parallel Slalom race of the 2000/2001 Nokia Snowboard FIS World Cup took place in Ruka today and it could have hardly been more exciting than it turned out to be finally. Mathieu Bozzetto from France and Italy’s Carmen Ranigler were leading the Parallel standings but both have not been safe for the title prior to the last race.
Mathieu Bozzetto needed to finish second place today for neither his teammate Nicolas Huet nor Richard Richardsson from Sweden were able to catch up with him. When Bozzetto crashed in the qualifications and did not finish his run nobody had questioned that the title would be decided between Huet and Richardsson but then the unexpected happened. Huet, second after the qualifications, faced Mathias Behounek in the round of 16 and – crashed. However he amazingly pulled it together again, even took the lead over the German by 60 hundrets of a second after the first run and looked safe to beat him but then Behounek attacked in the second run, closed the gap and knocked out Huet by only 28 hundrets. That was the moment when Bozzetto got back into the game since he already had more World Cup points than Huet with his tenth place so it was all up to Richardsson who needed to finish first or second to claim the chrystal globe. The Swede went smooth until he met Charlie Cosnier in the semi finals. The French rider took the lead in the first run by only nine hundrets of a second and could even increase it in the second run to send Richardsson to the small final for third place. Cosnier and Austria’s Alexander Maier met in the big final. Winning both runs there, Maier took his second World Cup win. “I really like head-to-head racing and I’m much better once I make it to the finals then in individual runs,” he said, “I started my way up slowly and now get more used to be in the top. I like to be there and will try my best to keep on like that. When I won in Park City it was my father’s birthday, today is my mother’s, maybe that’s an omen…” Cosnier pulled second: “I am so happy since it has been quite a time,” he said, “it’s a shame that we stop now but I will pick it up next year again. We have reviewed the points situation at lunch time and I knew Richard would take it with first or second place but we had not expected that this could become reality…” Richardsson finished fourth today after he was beaten by Harald Walder from Austria.
Bozzetto finally claimed the Parallel title for the third consecutive time and first could not believe it himself: “At noon I thought I was an idiot and I was sure to lose it,” he said, smiling all over, “nobody would have expected Nico to drop out in the first round – I thought he would even win the race – and Richardsson was riding consistently so I didn’t calculate it anymore. It was crazy and I think there are at least two guys I need to buy a drink tonight: Behounek and Charlie in particular. It was bad luck that Nico was knocked out but when Charlie went up for the semi finals he said it was up to him to keep the two of us in front.” Both almost having had the title in their hands Huet and Richardsson went second and third.
Carmen Ranigler needed to win today to be safe for the title but for her the unexpected happened as well when Karine Ruby was knocked out by Swiss rider Melina Meisser in the round of 16. Ranigler advanced to the quarter finals knowing that she had it under her belt already. It was a final confirmation when she also claimed the win in today’s race. “When I recognized that Ruby dropped out I wanted to make it another win,” she said, “I didn’t put too much pressure on me today but all was completely off me in the quarter finals and I could take it relaxed although I was so tired also from yesterday. During the runs I even made myself aware that I won the globe. Normally it causes problems automatically when you’re not focused on your racing but it was just something different today. I’m so happy.”Maria Kirchgasser-Pichler from Austria finished second, Italy’s Margherita Parini beat Swiss rider Melina Meisser for third place.
Karine Ruby claimed second place in the standings behind Ranigler, US rider Rosey Fletcher went third.
Apart from the Parallel World Cup globes also those for the Giant Slalom standings were awarded today – with only four races this season the Giant Slalom riders had decided their World Cup already in January. Walter Feichter from Italy claimed the globe in the mens’ division with Austria’s Stefan Kaltschuetz and Jasey Jay Anderson from Canada in second and third place. French rider Karine Ruby from France won the womens’ title ahead of Italy’s Marion Posch and US rider Sondra van Ert.
The Halfpipe riders will conclude their World Cup ranking with the season’s last contest tomorrow.