After a disappointing start at Nakiska where he got edged out of contention in the semi-finals, Brady Leman tightened up his game at Telluride on Wednesday to place second overall — the first medal for the Nations Cup winning national team.
Filip Flisar of Slovenia took the checkered flag, while Armind Neiderer of Switzerland and Jean Frederic Chapuis of France were third and fourth in the final heat.
Whistler’s David Duncan got bumped out of contention in the quarter-finals, but finished ninth on the day. Rookie Ian Deans posted his second solid result in 14th and Mathieu Leduc was 17th.
Tritstan Tafel and Louis-Pierre Helie did not qualify for the race in the top 32, finishing just outside in 35th and 36th.
On the women’s side, world champion Kelsey Serwa found her groove again and qualified for the finals, where she finished fourth behind Fanny Smith of Switzerland. Ophelie David of France and Anna Holmlund of Sweden.
Whistler’s Marielle Thompson shook off her disappointing race in Nakiska where she failed to qualify for the brackets with a stronger performance. She made the semi-finals, lost and then finished last in the small final after crossing skis with another racer. She placed eigth on the day.
Georgia Simmerling and Danielle Sundquist did not qualify in the top 16 and placed 18th and 20th respectively.
Reported earlierThe Canadian ski cross team was the best in the world last year despite injuries to some of its top athletes, so naturally expectations were high at home in Nakiska, Alberta last week for the first event of the World Cup season. But after three high profile retirements (Ashleigh McIvor, Julia Murray and Davey Barr), the death of an athlete (Nik Zoricic) in the last World Cup competition last season and a recent injury to one of the top male racers with the team (Chris DelBosco), the team got off to a slower start than they would have liked.
Kelsey Serwa, who is returning from a knee injury and hasn't raced since January 2012, got off to a good start after posting the second-fastest time in the qualifier. Both she and teammate Georgia Simmerling (also returning from a neck injury), were bumped out of contention in the quarterfinal.
Serwa, who missed advancing by the width of a pair of knuckles (first body part to cross the line advances), placed ninth and Simmerling 16th, while Whistler's Marielle Thompson, the defending World Cup champion, just missed qualifying for a spot in the finals.
"It's the difference between a finger and that's racing — I have no regrets," said Serwa, who is the reigning world champion. "I'm really happy with my performance today and now the results will come slowly.