For double Olympic champion Ester Ledecka tomorrow’s penultimate stop in the World Ski Federation (FIS) Snowboard World Cup parallel giant slalom at the Swiss resort of Scuol, is a formality.
The 22-year-old Czech Republic athlete, who last month became the first person to win Winter Olympic gold at the same Games using different types of equipment – she won the super-G skiing and parallel giant slalom snowboarding – has already secured the World Cup title.
But while Ledecka’s overall title is sealed the race for second and third will be tight.
Second-placed Theresia Hofmeister of Germany comes into Scuol with only a 260 point lead on Julia Dujmovits of Austria and Selina Joerg of Germany.
A top-three finish in Scuol by either rider will place pressure on the others to deliver a good performance at the season finale in Winterberg on March 17.
Nevin Galmarini, Olympic champion and leader of the men’s overall standings in the parallel giant slalom with 5,650 points will have home advantage at this resort in the far east of Switzerland, which is hosting its first World Cup events.
The Swiss is a clear leader, but the event is still technically live for the three men behind him Italy’s Edwin Coratti, on 4,103 points, Roland Fischnaller of Italy, on 4,103, and Andrey Sobolev of Russia, who has 3,566.
Both Roland and Andrey will need to finish in the top four to pick up the points needed to pass Coratti.
Should Coratti finish in the top four he will place further pressure on Galmarini.
Moscow will also host the penultimate race of the 12-stop Snowboard Cross World Cup tour as well as this winter’s third of four team snowboard cross events.
Tomorrow riders will turn in on the home stretch of a long season with this World Cup winter’s 11th snowboard cross race, which is being staged in Lata Park.
On Sunday (March 11) the team event is on the program on the same course.
The race for the FIS crystal globes could be decided this weekend as 2018 Olympic Champions Michela Moioli of Italy and Pierre Vaultier of France are comfortably leading the respective ladies’ and men’s standings.
However, it is an easier task for the French rider to seal the overall title tomorrow.
Vaultier is currently on 6,520 points, and as runner-up Alessandro Haemmerle of Austrlia is already 1,620 points behind, an eighth rank finish would be enough for the 30-year-old to secure his career’s sixth title, even if his Austrian rival was able to earn back-to-back wins in the last races.
In the women’s event, Moioli has lost some of her advantage with last weekend’s 14th placing in La Molina, Spain.
But with a total 6,810 points a decent result can keep her pursuers at bay.
French trio Chloe Trespeuch, who has 5,890 points, Charlotte Bankes, on 5,600, and Nelly Moenne Loccoz, who is on 5,540 will be looking to keep up the pressure.
By Mike Rowbottom
Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz.