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European riders dominate snowboard World Cup

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Nielsen wins bronze in Snowboard Cross

Although the Europeans were strong in all the competitions, Whistler’s own Drew Nielsen managed the only North American medal in Tignes, France on Nov. 18, racing in the Snowboard Cross (SBX) at the second Nokia Snowboard FIS World Cup of the year.

Nielsen posted the fastest time in the qualifier, and won every heat up to the finals, but eventually had to settle for third.

"Third in Chile and third here isn’t bad," says the 27-year-old veteran. "It’s looking good for the rest of the season in regard to the points.

"In the final race I blew the start, but managed to get back into the podium spots. It’s a bummer when you win all the races all day and blow it in the final heat."

Australian Zeke Steggall was perfect all day, and led from the start in the finals to secure his first ever World Cup win. "I think I’ve had enough of bad luck so I never expected to start off with a win," said the 30 year old.

Swiss rider Guillaume Nantermond held on to finish second overall, and take the yellow leader’s jersey.

Simone Malusa of Italy made the finals, but was held to fourth.

Canada’s Jasey-Jay Anderson, the overall snowboard world champion last year, won the consolation round after a slow start in the semi-finals. With a silver medal in Chile, Anderson is now ranked second overall in the SBX standings.

The women’s SBX event was an all-Euopean affair, with France capturing three spots in the finals. Marie Lassus, Marjorie Rey and Deborah Anthonioz of France finished first, second and fourth. Third went to Tanja Frieden of Switzerland.

In the Parallel Giant Slalom, Austria’s Stefan Kaltscheutz took the win, followed by Dejan Kosir of Slovakia and Mathieu Bozzetto of France. Anderson was the top-ranked North American in the contest, finishing eight overall. Mark Fawcett, Darren Chalmers, Ian Hadgkiss finished well off the mark in the 32 nd , 37 th and 38 th spots.

The women’s PGS went to Doris Guenther of Austria, followed by Isabelle Blanc and Karine Ruby of France. The top Canadian, still in the points in 35 th place, was Helene Cloutier.

The halfpipe event, which was pushed back three days to Nov. 19 after the pipe groomer broke down cutting through the hard snow, was all-European as well, although Canadians did manage to break into the top 15.

In the men’s competition, Markku Koski of Finland took the gold medal, followed by Iker Fernandez of Spain, and fellow Finn Risto Mattila.

Daniel Migneault, a 23 year old from Baie Comeau, Quebec, landed in 12 th place overall for Canada. Ben Wainwright was 30 th .

In the women’s event, Nocola Pederzolli won Austria’s third gold medal of the weekend. Doriane Vidal and Cecile Alzina of France were second and third.

Whistler’s Lori Glazier was the top North American, finishing in 14 th place overall. Dominique Vallee finished 16 th .

The World Cup season continues this weekend in Kaprun, Austria, with Parallel Giant Slalom and Parallel Slalom events. The SBX was cancelled due to a lack of snow.

After Kaprun, the competition moves to Ischgl, Austria, before coming to Whistler Dec. 6 to 11.

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