Calgary, Alta. (January 14, 2017) – The Watles (ITA) track proved to be good for Canada with Calgary’s Brady Leman and Vancouver’s Georgia Simmerling both battling all day to land on the podium picking up two more World Cup second-place finishes. Today’s podium marks Leman’s third of the season and Simmerling’s second of the season.
"It feels awesome to be back on the podium!" said Leman. "It was a hard race today with difficult heats and there was lots of passing. You had to fight each round to stay in the mix but I'm happy with second-place. Things went really well today so I'll stick with the game plan and roll it into tomorrow's race. I'm excited for another chance."
The Canada Ski Cross team has proven to be a dominant force on the Audi FIS World Cup ski cross circuit this season and today was no exception with five athletes finishing in the top ten.
"Today was a good day," said Simmerling. "If someone had told me I would land two podiums in the first half of the season, I'm not sure I would've believed it. It feels great to start off the season so strongly. My coaches and I are looking forward to an even longer goal ahead to 2018 PyeongChang Games. This silver is a stepping stone but it was a super fun day of racing. I'm going to take my confidence from today and move forward into tomorrow. I'm excited to get back out there!"
It was also a great day for Brittany Phelan who scored her second personal-best finish of the season with a sixth-place finish, bettering her seventh-place personal-best from the Innichen (ITA) race.
On the men’s side, six Canadians qualified for the eighth-final heats. Leman started the day joined by fellow teammate Ian Deans in his eighth-final heat but only Leman had the speed to advance to the quarterfinal round.
Veteran Chris Del Bosco and teammate Kevin Drury made up two of the four spots in one eighth-final heat where both athletes advanced to the quarter final round. In the quarterfinals, Del Bosco had a slow start and made a costly error that knocked him out of today’s race, while Drury lead the majority of the way down the track and advanced to the semi-finals.
In a close finish, Dave Duncan managed to advance in his eighth-final heat to the quarterfinals, making it four Canadian men heading into the quarterfinal round of competition. The day ended for Duncan at the quarterfinals where he finished his heat in third-place.
In the semi-final round, Drury narrowly missed out on qualifying for the big final but advanced to the small final where he ultimately finished the day with another top-ten finish in eighth-place after a crash took him out of the running.
Switzerland’s Amin Niederer was today’s men’s ski cross champion, with Canada’s Leman in second-place and France’s Jean-Frederic Chapuis finishing in third-place.
On the ladies’ side, the quarterfinals saw Whistler’s Marielle Thompson and Simmerling in the same heat. Both making late passes, they advanced to the semi-finals where Thompson, who was crowned the Audi FIS World Cup Ski Cross Cross Alps Tour champion, suffered a costly mistake and failed to advance to the big final round. Simmerling advanced onto the big final where she ultimately landed her second podium of the season and a season-best second-place finish.
Phelan started making moves in the quarterfinal where she finished in second-place, advancing through to the semis, eventually finding herself in the small final where she finished just behind teammate Thompson, for a sixth-place finish.
In the small final, Thompson took the early lead, continuing to grow it all the way down the track, handily winning the small final for a fifth-place overall finish.
Sandra Naesland from Sweden was today’s victor with Canada’s Simmerling in second-place and Germany’s Heidi Zacher in third-place.
Everyone will have a second chance on the Wattles (ITA) track tomorrow as the athletes race the second of two races.
Canadian women’s results
2 - Georgia Simmerling
5 - Marielle Thompson
6 - Brittany Phelan
Canadian men’s results
2 - Brady Leman
8 - Kevin Drury
12 - Dave Duncan
13 - Chris Del Bosco
28 – Kristofor Mahler
30 - Ian Deans
Full results here.
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