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Big finish for Canadian snowboard team

Lipscomb on top of podium, Ricker takes overall snowboardcross title



All’s well that ends well for the Canadian Snowboard Federation, with World Cup athletes picking up momentum in recent weeks and winning medals in alpine, freestyle and snowboardcross events at the World Cup Finals in Valmalenco, Italy.

Whistler’s Maëlle Ricker secured the overall snowboardcross title the previous week in Stoneham, Quebec by earning a silver medal behind Lindsey Jacobellis of the U.S., who finished a close second in the overall standings. Jacobellis opted to skip the World Cup finals for a pro event, missing her chance to overtake Ricker in the standings.

It’s a good thing, as the last race went a little sideways for Ricker, who placed 11 th . Teammate Dominique Maltais placed third behind Sandra Frei of Switzerland and Bulgarian Alexandra Jekova.

“I’m disappointed with myself for sure,” said Ricker, who was hoping for a showdown with Jacobellis at the World Cup finals. “This wasn’t the way I wanted to celebrate winning the crystal globe. But then, I guess you can’t win them all.”

Ricker did, however, win three races, and three silver medals in eight regular season events.

No Canadians made the men’s finals. The top racer was Whistler’s Derek Wintermans in ninth, followed by Simon Bonenfant in 10 th , Rob Fagan in 14 th , and Tom Velisek in 20 th . Drew Neilson, who won the globe for Canada last year, did not race.

In the halfpipe, Crisipin Lipscomb — revitalized after winning the top prize in the Sapient Showcase Showdown — climbed to the top of the podium for the first time since he broke his collarbone at the end of last season. Lipscomb has struggled on the World Cup circuit this winter and opted to miss the last event in Quebec to take a break from competition and work on his riding. It turned out to be the right decision.

“I went in to Italy with the intention of doing well, and this confirms to me that I made the right choice,” he said.

Lipscomb has always had the skills and tricks to win — he’s one of the few athletes to land a 1440 spin in a competition — but on the World Cup even one small mistake can cost you a chance at the podium. In Italy, he toned down the difficulty level of his tricks slightly, pushed his airs a little higher, and tried to land everything perfectly.

“That was kind of the plan,” he said. “It’s been a while since I’ve been doing the big spins — front 10s (1080 spins), back 10s, front 12s (1260 spins), but I thought it was better to stick to what’s working because the halfpipe was a bit of a challenge with the conditions.