MARIELLE THOMPSON EDGED OFF PODIUM IN SKI CROSS WORLD CUP ACTION IN RUSSIA
Phelan and Sherret reach small final, finishing 5th and 8th
Sunny Valley, RUS (Feb. 23, 2019) – Racing in her ninth big final in 10 World Cup and World Championships’ starts this season, Canada’s Marielle Thompson (Whistler, B.C./Whistler Mountain Ski Club) was forced to settle for fourth in the first of two World Cup ski cross races in Sunny Valley, Russia, this weekend.
Thompson, who won her quarter-final and semifinal heats, was edged to the back of the pack in the big final and was unable to make any passes, falling steadily behind the leaders.
“I think I skied pretty well all day, especially my first two heats,” said Thompson who has been on the podium five this season, capturing World Championship gold, along with three World Cup silver and one bronze. “In the final, I kind of got cut off in the start section and didn’t have anywhere to go from there. Hopefully I can build on some good skiing today into tomorrow.”
Known for its great flow, the jumps on this year’s Sunny Valley ski cross course were smaller, requiring clean skiing for optimal success.
Brittany Phelan (Mont-Tremblant, Que./Mont-Tremblant Ski Club) and India Sherret (Cranbrook, B.C./Kimberley Alpine Team) went up against Thompson in the semifinal, with Sherret taking third in that heat to move on to the small final. She finished the day in eighth, matching her best finish this season earned in Italy last December.
“I’m pretty happy with how today’s race went. It’s been a tough season – I haven’t moved past the first round often,” said Sherret, who has stepped onto the World Cup podium once in her career so far, earning bronze in Sweden last season. “Today, I broke through that mental barrier. Skiing fast and having fun is what I’m here for, and it was good to feel that again today.”
Phelan, meanwhile, got into trouble coming over a roller and lost her footing in the semifinal, costing her a shot at the podium. She won the small final to earn a fifth-place finish for the day, while fellow Canadians Kelsey Serwa (Kelowna, B.C./Big White Ski Club) and Abby McEwen (Edmonton/Sunridge Ski Club) also recorded top-15 results, finishing 10th and 14th, respectively.
As she did last season, Fanny Smith of Switzerland climbed to the top of the podium in the first race of the double-header at Sunny Valley. Sweden’s Sandra Naeslund finished second, and Austria’s Andrea Limbacher was third.
In men’s ski cross action, some very tight heats in the eights put Canada’s racers in heavy traffic, and they weren’t able to make their way to the front of the pack. All three qualifiers saw their race-day end after just one heat, with Chris Del Bosco (Montreal and Vail, Col./Ski and Snowboard Club Vail) finishing 24th, Brady Leman (Calgary/Calgary Alpine Racing Club) 25th, and Toronto’s Kevin Drury landing in 26th place. Zach Belczyk (Banff, Alta./Sunshine Ski Club – ABSX) didn’t crack the top-32 in qualifications, and logged a 36th-place result.
Bastien Midol of France raced to gold, joined on the podium by Saturday’s silver-medallist, Filip Flisar of Slovenia, and fellow countryman Jean Frederic Chapuis, who took bronze.
Full results can be found at FIS-SKI.com.
World Cup ski cross racing resumes on Sunday in Russia.