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Canadians climb podium at world championships

Anderson, Ricker, Boivin take home medals in PGS, snowboardcross



In conditions that have ranged from an arctic freeze to rain, the Canadian team has put on a solid performance at home so far in the FIS Snowboard World Championships, with athletes on every podium but one.

"What I’m really pleased with is the depth of the team," said Tom McIllfaterick, the CEO of the Canadian Snowboard Federation. "We had athletes come back from injuries and make a difference, like Maëlle Ricker. (Jasey-Jay) Anderson had some bad luck in his (snowboardcross) heat, and three other guys stepped up. We had four athletes in the top six, and that’s pretty good."

In the snowboardcross finals on Sunday, all four Canadian men and three out of four women qualified. The course was fast, long, with lots of passing from top to bottom and riders going off course.

Of the four Canadian men that qualified, all made it past the first round into the round of 16 with aggressive riding.

Anderson spun a complete 360 in his quarter-final run while overtaking the leader, but made a strong comeback towards the end of the run by passing the third place rider. If the course has been another 20 metres, he might have overtaken the second place rider to move on, but instead had to settle for third in his heat.

Robert Fagan of Cornerbrook also went down in the Round of 16. He was leading his heat against Seth Wescott of the U.S., who bumped him while passing him for the lead. He lost enough speed that Jayson Hale, another American, managed to pull ahead around the next corner. The Americans stayed together until the end, blocking out any chance Fagan had of regaining the lead or moving to the next round.

That left Tom Velisek and Francois Boivin in the semi-finals for Canada.

Velisek got off to a strong start in his run, but was bumped back to third in the corners.

"It was kind of disappointing, losing it in the lead. I came down really strong, and there was some pushing around with the other guys and I lost it," said Velisek. "That’s boardercross, it’s nothing to be mad about. The course was really great, better than anything we’ve been on, and there were lots of places to pass without being really sketchy."

Boivin grabbed the hole shot in his semi-final run and held onto the lead the whole way down.

In the finals, Boivin faced Wescott, Hale and Michale Layer of Germany. Wescott took the hole shot and Boivin passed Hale to gain a solid foothold on the number two spot, which was how it ended – Wescott with the gold, Boivin with the silver, and Hale with the bronze. Velisek had a good small final race to finish sixth, Anderson was 10 th , and Fagan 12 th out of 32 qualifiers.