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Leman's silver lining

Ski cross star places second once again



For the second straight race, Calgary's Brady Leman skied his way to a World Cup ski cross podium, earning yet another silver medal in Val Thorens, France.

It was nearly a double podium for Canada with Whistler's Dave Duncan also progressing to the finals, although he ended his day in fourth.

"I'm proud of what I did today but with that said, I want to win," said Leman, who also placed second on the World Cup rankings last season. His goal this season is to win the overall, matching teammate Marielle Thompson's feat from last season. "The Crystal Globe, for me, it's my main goal this season. It's what I've set out to get; it's what I want.

"Two silvers in a row, and it's going to take that kind of consistency this year to have a shot at it."

Leman is currently sitting second overall with 200 points, 60 back of Armin Niederer of Switzerland, who placed first at Val Thorens.

Leman and Duncan worked together in the two heats before the finals, ensuring they would both have a crack at a medal. But their system fell apart in the final, leaving Leman to chase Niederer while Duncan was in fourth after the first corner behind Joe Swensson of the U.S. Both skiers attempted a passes, but couldn't pull ahead.

"Both Dunc and I messed up out of the gate," said Leman. "I was third out of the start and passed the American. I had the speed coming up behind Armin. He made a little bit of a bobble off the second-last jump and he did a nice swing back to keep me behind him. He's racing so strong right now. It's going to be interesting to see how the year keeps going."

Duncan said he missed a key pole plant out of the gate and found himself in a hole before the race was underway. Without that mistake, he feels he would have been in competition for a medal.

"Every time I go into a race I feel I have a chance of making it to the finals," he said. "That mistake at the start in the final — definitely I wish it hadn't gone that way. That first (World Cup) win still eludes (me)."

The other Canadians to qualify, Louis-Pierre Helie and Tristan Tafel, finished their days in 18th and 23rd. Ian Deans, who was injured after tangling with Duncan in the quarter-final heat, did not race after doctors determined that he had torn his anterior cruciate ligament, and headed back to Canada for surgery.

Duncan was later disqualified after that heat after marshalls claimed he missed a gate. He later proved by video that it didn't happen, and is still awaiting word whether his final standing in that race will be amended.

On the women's side, Kelsey Serwa was knocked out of contention in the first round of the finals to place 15th, while Danielle Sundquist just missed qualifying in the top 16 after ranking 17th in the qualifier. Whistler's Marielle Thompson failed to qualify in the top 16, placing 23rd overall. Mariannick Therer also got a chance to race for Canada, finishing 27th.

Fanny Smith of Switzerland took the win, followed by Marte Hoeie Gjefsen of Norway and Andrea Limbacher of Austria.

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