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Ricker back on the podium in Switzerland


Whistler's Maƫlle Ricker shrugged off a seventh place finish the previous week to place third in snowboardcross at Steiner Werner, Austria on Jan. 15 - one spot behind Canadian teammate Dominique Maltais.

Helene Olafsen of Norway won, while Alexandra Jekova of Bulgaria also made the final to place fourth.

Ricker's rival for the overall snowboardcross title, Lindsey Jacobellis of the U.S., placed eighth after making the small final. She was squeezed out by three Swiss riders.

It was the third time this season that Maltais and Ricker have shared a podium.

"I rode with a lot of confidence today and finished way ahead in the quarter and semi-finals," said Maltais. "I had a bad start and made a few mistakes in the final that cost me a lot."

Maltais got her run together at the end to shoot past Ricker en route to the finish line.

Ricker maintained her lead in the World Cup standings with a bronze medal.

"The course was very fast and suited to good gliders," said Ricker. "After finishing fourth place a number of times last year, I was just happy not to be fourth. I'm definitely looking forward to returning to Canada and racing at Stoneham.

On the men's side Francois Boivin finished fourth, earning his third top five result of the season, enough to qualify for an Olympic berth. Boivin led the entire day, but crashed in the men's final to finish off the podium.

"The course was good for gliders and big guys and wasn't really my kind of course, but all my runs I managed to have a good start and get out front," said Boivin. "The start had a big, steep drop and that helped."

Pierre Vaultier of France added another win to his tally this season, and consolidated his lead on top of the standings. David Speiser of Germany was second, while Nick Baumgartner of the U.S. was third.

Other Canadians include Kevin Hill, 12 th , Robert Fagan, 18 th , Mike Robertson, 19 th , Tom Velisek, 20 th , Simon Bonenfant, 21 st and Drew Neilson, 26 th .

The alpine team also continued to impress at Nendaz, Switzerland, extending the team's winning streak in parallel giant slalom to four. This time it was Michael Lambert's turn to top the podium, earning his first career win. Jasey-Jay Anderson has won two events this year and Matthew Morison one.

"It's weird, I just feel like nothing happened," said Lambert of the win. "I spent so many years being so stressed about results. This season I just stopped caring about the end result, and just care about each turn I make, about focusing, about being happy outside of snowboarding. That's all I have been doing.

"When I am in the gate, I want to attack, to be aggressive, but I don't want to care too much."

He beat Andreas Prommegger of Austria in the final duel to take the win, with Benjamin Karl of Austria edging out Rok Marguc of Slovenia in the small final to place third. Jasey-Jay Anderson placed 16 th and Patrick Farrell 20 th . Matthew Morison is currently injured but is expected to return in time for the Olympics.