Eva Samkova (CZE) and Christopher Robanske (CAN) have shown today, that the 1,105 metres long course and its 25 features in Blue Mountain, Ontario, which was build by 2010 Olympic course shaper Jeff Ihaksi (CAN), do really suit them.
In the women's time trials, the Czech rocket gave it a blast in the second qualifier run. By nailing a 1:15.10 to the ground, the 19-years-old who has one runner-up finish to her belt so far (Valmalenco, ITA, 2011) thus knocked off reigning World and Olympic Champion Maelle Ricker (CAN) from the top seat – with the tiny advantage of .22.
Michela Moioli (ITA, 1:15.46), a 1995 born hopeful who had finished fifth at the last World Championships as well as Worlds Silver medalist Dominique Maltais (CAN, 1:15.51) and Alexandra Jekova (BUL, 1:15.74) finished also under 1:16 minutes and will be among those to watch out for in tomorrow's finals.
2010 Halfpipe Olympic Champion and 2013 Slopestyle World Championships Bronze medalist Torah Bright, who is giving it a shot to compete in three different events at Sochi 2014 finished 26th (1:22.05) and thus missed the finals in her first ever Snowboard Cross World Cup.
On the men's side of things, Robanske made his home country proud by taking bib #1 into the finals of this season's only World Cup to be staged on Canadian soil.
The 24-years-old was the only one to beat the 1:11 minutes in 1:10.75 and thus will be the top favourite for tomorrow.
However, 2011 and 2013 World Champion Alex Pullin (AUS, 1:11.75), Nick Baumgartner (USA, 1:11.19) and 2009 World Champion and 2013 Silver medalist Markus Schairer (AUT, 1:11.32) are also not to underestimate.
Not only because of their reputation and top results so far, but especially as they were the only ones with a gap of less than .60 seconds on Robanske.
The finals, run in heats of four, are scheduled for Saturday, Feb 2, at 12 PM ET (6 PM CET).
- Results women's qualifiers
- Start list women's finals
- Results men's qualifiers
- Start list men's finals
Photo: Marc Landry