It was another great day of racing at the SBX World Cup opener in Cerro Catedral: a perfectly prepped 1,000 metres long and pretty technical course, superb snow conditions and sunny weather all came together when the world's best boardercross riders came together to battle it out in the second of two consecutive individual races in Patagonia.
However, there were also slight differences compared to yesterday's thrilling kick off to the season: besides windy conditions during the qualifiers, which were scheduled right prior to the knock out rounds, the final heats were also reduced from heats of 6 to heats of 4 for safety reasons.
Nevertheless, the finals saw the same riders taking over the major role in the season's second act which had been in the spot light during the prelude already as Lindsey Jacobellis (USA) and Alex Pullin (AUS) prevailed.
While the five-time World Champion got her redemption for being beaten on the line in yesterday's thrilling women's final of the World Cup opener, the two-time World Champion from Down Under celebrated a perfect start to the Olympic winter by securing back-to-back wins in dominant fashion.
Jacobellis crossed the line in a photo finish decision ahead of Eva Samkova (CZE) with yesterday's triumphant French rider Chloe Trespeuch rounding out the podium in third after the US rider had played it cool following a late start:
“I feel terrific. This has been very challenging because the start section is pretty technical and it was hard for me to get moving so I had to rely on my passing skills and the turns and being technical down below,” she said.
And things worked out as planned this time.
After Jacobellis had successfully fought off an attack by Italy's Michela Moioli who tried to pass her rival in a turn, the 32-year-old from Stratton, VT took on Eva Samkova waiting for the right moment to pass the 2014 Olympic Champion. And when the door opened in a turn, Jacobellis didn't wait but grabbed her luck by the scruff of its neck.
“It was a fight the whole way down, and I knew they were behind me trying to get the draft. So I tried to fall away whenever I could and not make any mistakes, and I was really happy that it all came together.”
Over in the men's event, Australia's very own Chumpy Pullin was able to repeat his performance from yesterday, where he had already celebrated a start to finish win.
After coming out first from the gates, he led the pack down the course, feeling 2014 Olympic Champion Pierre Vaultier right behind of him. But when the Frenchman got some problems in a left turn, Pullin was able to break away from the rest of the men's finalists and kept his lead until the end.
“It's been two days of great racing. I felt fast in training, so I knew I should be pretty good today. First few heats were pretty good, and yeah, I was just able to do it again. It feels amazing, it's unreal. I couldn't be happier to be honest. It's a perfect way to start the season.”
While stepping on the top spot of the World Cup podium for the ninth time in his career and ten days before turning 30, he was accompanied by Alessandro Haemmerle (AUT) and Mick Dierdorff (USA) who earned his career's first top-3 result.
“I'm so excited. I have been riding well but I had a really tough season last year. I was dying to get there and get some good results this year. It feels awesome that I put one down in the first World Cups. It was a tough day but I managed to hang on, so I'm feeling pretty good,” Dierdorff stated almost eight years to the date when he had celebrated his World Cup debut at the Chapelco SBX in Argentina.
The FIS Snowboard Cross World Cup tour will take a break now until mid of December when the riders meet again for one individual race in Val Thorens, France.