Munich/Spitzing (Germany). With the season’s fifth Parallel Slalom the 2000/2001 Nokia Snowboard FIS World Cup was continued at Munich, Germany today. Mathieu Chiquet from France and Italy’s Carmen Ranigler took the wins.
It was the first time ever a Snowboard FIS World Cup event took place inside a big city and it has been a real challenge for the organisers to built the slope but it turned out to be in good shape finally although heavy rain almost all day long made it pretty soft.
French rider Mathieu Chiquet has finished eighth in yesterday’s qualification and looked as if he really liked racing today in front of a crowd of 5,000 people. In the round of 16 he eliminated his teammate Nicolas Huet, who had claimed the gold at the World Championships only last week and made his way through the finals to meet Germany’s Mathias Behounek in the final duel. Chiquet won the first run and was ahead by the penalty time of 70 hundrets of a second but although Behounek got the second run under his belt the French was safe for the win finally – his third ever. “I’m glad I made it,” Chiquet said. “It was just great to have this show happen in the middle of town in front of this crowd and although we have not been very lucky with the weather they did a great job with preparing the slope – I think we really should continue to do such shows. Maybe it would be better to do those as a show only, apart from competing for World Cup points but it was great for our sports.”
Behounek has suffered a lot from injuries since last year. Being back on the World Cup he hurt his shoulder when training in Tignes the day before the season opener and made it his comeback today with finishing second place. “When we got here this morning,” ‘Meti’ said, overwhelmed, “I heard a radio interview with Martina Ertl who said that she believed in the future with everything coming back some time after her injury and she won the combined at the Worlds yesterday so I just said to myself that this could also happen to me but I didn’t expect it to happen just today. In the last couple of races I was too much looking at what the others did and I tried to refrain from that here so I just did my runs and only checked about my rivals after crossing the finish line – this seemed to be the right way. I didn’t feel well all day and even have some fever but with all those people around here I just pulled it together – I wanted to give everything and it paid off. I will probably stay in bed for the next two or three days to recover…”
Mathieu Bozzetto from France faced Slovenia’s Dejan Kosir in the small final for third place. With Kosir winning the first run, the French put everything into the second run and closed the gap to finally claim the bronze by just one hundret of a second. “It was great,” he said, “a good show, but I would have loved to win this today. It’s a shame I made this mistake when riding against Behounek in the semi finals and therefore could not make it to the final but third place is fine. In my opinion the course was a bit short but it was a great show.”
Being eliminated by Behounek in the round of 16 Nicolas Huet finished 11th place but still keeps the lead in the standings ahead of Kosir and Bozzetto.
Italy’s Carmen Ranigler met World Champion Karine Ruby for the final duel in the womens’ race and the French won the first run but Ranigler pulled it together in the second run to take her first-ever win in Parallel Slalom. “I really don’t understand how I made this happen,” she said. “When I got up this morning and saw this heavy rain I didn’t like to race at all and even prayed that the race was cancelled but the further I worked it out in the finals I said to myself to make the best out of it while I was here anyway. Even being behind by 33 hundrets after the first run in the final duel I wanted to push it and it worked.”
Ruby went second. “The course was very short and I didn’t like the soft snow,” she said, “so I’m happy with second place. It was a great competition, especially for those being around watching and we usually don’t have as many spectators as we had today so it was a good thing for our sport. However, I prefer courses which are a bit longer.”
US rider Rosey Fletcher met Austria’s Claudia Riegler in the small final for third place. After a fault in the first run she turned it around in the second run and finished third. “The problem was that I didn’t stick to my game plane,” Fletcher said. “I knew Carmen was really strong and I had to put in more than what I’ve been doing in the beginning when I was racing her in the semi finals. Luckyly I pulled out of it and went third but I really need to focus on my riding and on what I’m doing. In a sense I got a little destructed in what everybody else was doing but that’s about all.
Ruby is further leading the standings ahead of Ranigler and Fletcher.
The World Cup will be continued in Berchtesgaden (GER) with two Halfpipe competitions, a Parallel Slalom and a Parallel Giant Slalom scheduled from 08 through 11 February.