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Ricker leads medal spree at World Cup finals

Season wraps up in Sweden; nationals get underway at Big White



Whistler’s Maëlle Ricker finished her World Cup season on a high note last weekend, earning her second snowboardcross podium of the year at the finals in Tandadalen, Sweden,

Ricker finished third behind Doresia Krings of Austria and Mellie Francon of Switzerland.

"I’m happy with my result even if I didn’t have a great run in the final," said Ricker. "I had a great start in the final but I played it a little too safe in the middle part of the course and two opponents moved ahead. That cost me the gold medal. It’s entirely my fault."

Erin Simmons of Vancouver came close to the finals, but lost in the semi-finals and had to settle for sixth in the small final.

In the men’s snowboardcross, Jasey-Jay Anderson of Mont-Tremblant earned the silver medal behind Paul-Henri Delerue of France.

"I’m happy since I didn’t think it was possible to get such a result," said Anderson, who was leading his run until he made a mistake on the lower section of the course. "My last few outings have been disappointing this season but I’m working on big developments. This work needs to be done but I’m still happy to conclude the season on the podium."

The work he is referring to is familiarizing himself with a new snowboard design. Despite two wins at the FIS Snowboard World Championships in Whistler, he has had trouble adjusting.

Anderson finished second in the overall snowboard standings behind Xavier Delerue of France. Anderson had won the overall title and crystal globe the past four years running, but said it was worth it to lose his chance at a fifth title to get used to his equipment and be in top form for the 2006 Winter Olympics.

The halfpipe finals took place on Friday. Whistler’s Mercedes Nicoll finished a few points shy of her third medal of the season, ending her day in fourth place. Anne-Marie Gauthier and Ricker were 18 th and 22 nd respectively.

Mero Narita of Japan took the gold, followed by Manuela Pesko of Switzerland and Anna Olofsson of Sweden.

Whistler’s Dan Raymond was the top Canadian in the men’s pipe, finishing eighth, his best finish this season. Crispin Lipscomb was 11 th , Brad Martin 14 th and Hugo Lemay 21 st .

Gary Zebrowski and Mathieu Crepel of France were first and second, followed by Kazuhiro Kokubo of Japan.

The Canadians will be battling it out with each other at Big White this week in the Honda Element Canadian Snowboard National Championships.