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Ricker rides to World Cup bronze in Argentina

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Although there was some concern that the lack of snow might derail the opening snowboardcross event of the season at Chapelco, Argentina last weekend, organizers managed to put together a decent course with challenging terrain features packed into a tight space.

Whistler’s Maëlle Ricker managed to stay close to the lead through the brackets to make the final, where she placed third behind Lindsay Jacobellis of the U.S. and Mellie Francon of Switzerland.

“Today was a challenging course for the women,” said Ricker, who is the defending World Cup champion. “You had to be very strong and confident in your abilities to challenge for a spot in the final.

“I struggled to stay competitive with the top girls but at the end of my day my experience paid off and I was able to compete for the podium.”

Ziggy Cowan of Banff also raced, and made in the quarter-finals to place 12 th .

In the men’s competition Robert Fagan of Cranbrook, B.C. was the top Canadian, in seventh place. Francois Boivin, Tom Velisek and Simon Bonenfant were 13 th through 15 th respectively.

Pierre Vaultier of France, the overall World Cup leader last season, took the gold medal, followed by Stian Sivertzen of Norway and Mateusz Ligocki of Poland.

This is the first time that Argentina has hosted a World Cup event. A huge international field turned out as it was also the first opportunity of the season to qualify for the 2010 Olympic Games.

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