BIB #1 DOMINATED AT THE STUBAI GLACIER AS LEDEUX AND RAGETTLI TAKE SEASON’S FIRST VICTORY
24 of the world’s best freeskiers gave it their best during the first world cup competition of the current winter in the ideal setting of the DC Stubai Zoo snowpark at an altitude of 3000m on the Stubai Glacier. Battling for points and showing off their best tricks, bib number one turned out the lucky number for Tess Ledeux from France as well as Switzerland’s Andri Raggetli. Behind Ledeux, Johanne Killi (NOR) finished 2nd with China’s Aileen Eiling Gu on 3rd. In the men’s Ragettli was sandwiched by Norway’s Christian Nummedal and Ferdinand Dahl.
On Saturday the DC Stubai Zoo welcomed the freeski athletes with beaming sunshine and top snow conditions. Perfect preconditions for finals that were special not only with regards to sports. Considering the current challenging framework conditions, the efforts as well as the conscientious implementation of the preventive concept based on the federal requirements were definitely worth it. A professional and safe course of events was guaranteed and made it possible for the athletes to pursue their sport. The riders took the chance to show their most demanding tricks on the two kickers and rails of the 500m-long slopestyle course at the World Cup season opener on the Stubai Glacier and to collect the season’s first World Cup points. 60 men and 24 women were at the start of the qualification on Thursday, the best 16 men and 8 women made it to the finals on Saturday. Two runs had to be passed during the finals, the better one was used for the ranking. Not only the difficulty of the tricks was taken into account for the rating, but also the run’s individuality, versatility and creativity were considered by the seven judges for the scoring.
Frenchwoman made herself a gold birthday present in advance
No double for the “child prodigy” from Estonia: The 18-year old Sildaru seemed invincible after an awesome qualification. In the last training run before the final she suffered an injury and had to passively watch from the start how Less Ledeux (FRA) snapped the victory. Almost all women got a better rating for their first run, which was eventually used for the ranking. Even the latter winner fell in the second run, but because she had achieved such a high score in heat 1, she was able to stay on top. A leftside 1260 on switch bio 9 helped the almost 19-year old double World Champion to get 89 points and to give herself an early birthday present – namely gold - on November 23rd she will turn 19 years old. With this result, she kept the Norwegian Johanne Killi (81 points) and the young Chinese talent Aileen Gu (77 points) at bay.
“I am happy about my runs! It was a fantastic comeback after my knee injury in the last year. The course was demanding, but the weather was dreamlike and the competition just awesome!” (Tess Ledeux, FRA)
The two Austrians were only onlookers on the day of the finals. After her long injury break, local hero Laure Wallner (T) finished 16th in the enormously strong field of starters, Lara Wolf (T) finished 20th.
Swiss Ragettli turned the tables in the second run
In a final that was open to the very end it was eventually the constantly strong Swiss Andri Ragletti who won. The current and meanwhile 3-time World Cup overall winner lived up to his reputation of being extremely strong mentally-wise. He kept his nerves in the second run. The 22-year old collected 94 important points in the second run with a switch right double misty 12 on left double cork 14. For the Swiss this is the eight World Cup victory and the 20th time on the winners’ rostrum. The two Norwegians Christian Nummedahl (91,75 points) and just like in 2018 Ferdinand Dahl (87,25 points) followed somewhat behind.
“After the training I have slightly changed my first run. In the second run I really believed in myself and was able to concentrate. I was able to stand it all. It was incredible, because the training was really difficult. I am all the happier that I was able to show my best also under competition pressure.” (Andri Ragettli, SUI)
The Tyrolean Hannes Rudigier made it into the finals with two good runs, on Saturday though he had to be satisfied with finishing as 16th in this home World Cup.
“It was really cool to be at the finals. I am extremely happy that I could join and am among the world’s best 1 riders. We had excellent trainings, in the competition I wasn’t as good, but I have made plenty of experiences for the future.” (Hannes Rudigier, AUT)
The Vorarlberg-born Julius Forer almost made it to the finals with his 18th place. The young World Cup debutant finished as impressive 20th. Nicolas Biembacher (T) came in 28th, David Wolf (T) as 37th. His team mates were only onlookers on Saturday. The qualification of the experienced red-white-red World Cup starters was not as planned: Lukas Müllauer (S) and Samuel Baumgartner (OÖ) had to make do with the places 53 and 55.
After the cancellation of the World Cup stop in America (Copper Mountain), races will continue on 8th and 9th January 2021 with the Big Air World Cup at Kreischberg in Styria (Austria).