Steady snow and some wild, pass-filled racing made for a thrilling day at the inaugural Audi FIS Ski Cross World Cup in Idre Fjall, Sweden, on Saturday, as the first of the weekend’s back-to-back races saw Swedish heroes Anna Holmlund and Sandra Naeslund take first and third place in the ladies race, while Filip Flisar (SLO) was able to claim his first victory of the season in men’s competition.
For Holmlund it was her fourth victory in 2015/16, and her eighth podium in nine events on the season. Incredibly, she still has yet to miss a big final this season.
“It’s pretty stressful to be in the lead on this course today,” Holmlund said following awards, “It felt l was going 180 heartbeats per minute. It was tough conditions, but it was the same for everybody, and I’m really happy I was able to hold it together across the line. It was the second time this year Sandra and I have shared a podium, and I think that shows that we’ve got one of the best teams on the World Cup, even if we are only five skiers.”
In the men’s competition, Flisar showed remarkable speed throughout a day when so many skiers found themselves eliminated at the last minute in heats that they had at some point lead. The win was Flisar’s first of the season, and his first podium since he had a third-place and a second-place result to start 2015/16.
“I started off the season really well, but then I had some struggles in the last few races,” Flisar said of the path his season has taken, “I was skiing good, but I was maybe a little bit unlucky. But finally I’m back here on the podium. I got the one step on the podium I didn’t have yet this year and it feels really good.”
On the ladies’ side, Holmlund furthered her commanding lead on the ski cross and FIS Freestyle overall World Cup standings, and her 770 points has her 263 points clear of Thompson’s 507. Thompson’s second place result on Saturday vaulted her over Baron on the leaderboard and into second behind Holmlund.
For the men, Jean Frederic Chapuis (FRA) continues to lead the World Cup rankings despite his 17th place finish on the day, and he now sits 114 points clear of second-overall Leman, with 584 points to Leman’s 470. Delbosco remains in third with 433 points, just 36 shy of his teammate Leman.
Weather in Idre Fjall has been challenging all week, with strong winds forcing the cancellation of Friday’s qualification rounds and necessitating an adjusted finals format that saw men’s competition begin with a preliminary final round of 64 men and 32 ladies. Action in Idre Fjall continues on Sunday with the same program as Saturday’s competition, with prelims starting at 10:30 CET, followed by finals at 12:30…