Smith and Midol victorious at first race of Idre Fjäll TRE

Quite some snowfall welcomed ski cross athletes on their first of three competition days here in Sweden’s Idre Fjäll.

The first of the Idre Fjäll TRE races was a special one, as it was a never-before-seen 600m straight sprint course, which consisted of a whole lot of jumps and rollers.

One would think that such a course would be a sealed deal when getting out of the start gate in first position, but what we witnessed today was quite the opposite. Those 600 meters were nothing short of excitement and pure fighting from start to finish.

Smith ties Ophelie David’s record

The women’s big final saw Switzerland’s ski cross ace Fanny Smith, World Champion Marielle Thompson (CAN), young talent Talina Gantenbein (SUI) and Russian athlete Anastasiia Chirtcova in a fight for the podium spots.

Smith’s super fast start allowed her to get in front of the heat from the very beginning with Marielle Thompson quite on her tail sitting in second position while Gantenbein and Chirtcova were battling for third and fourth spot.

Smith’s margin was big enough to stay in the lead from start to finish and claim her seventh win in Idre Fjäll. It was not until the first jump, where Chirtcova managed to grab third position and entering the roller section, for a split second it looked as if she could also pass Thompson, but then Gantenbein came with some speed from the roller section to her advantage, got ahead of the Russian and managed to win the fight for the third place of the day, edging Chirtcova off the first podium chance in her career.

It is worth mentioning that Fanny Smith tied the record of Ophelie David’s 26 World Cup wins with today’s victory. This is the most amount for a female or male ski cross athlete up to date. With her next victory, Smith will set an all-time new record and we can’t wait for it to happen. Maybe already this upcoming weekend at the back-to-back full-length races here in Idre Fjäll?

“I really like coming here to Idre, it’s really a nice course. It’s really tough physically, you have to be on top of your game, don’t make any mistakes. I don’t really think about records, I only think about skiing and giving my best,” Smith said after race.

Bastien Midol back on top

With two French men, 2018/19 ski cross crystal globe winner Bastien Midol and World Champion Francois Place, home hero Viktor Andersson and Switzerland’s Johannes Lenherr, the men’s big final was a podium battle as tight as it can get.

Midol was out of the gate the fastest and managed to get into first position, where he stayed throughout the entire heat, while Lenherr and Andersson stayed shoulder to shoulder for a couple of elements and Francois Place seemingly was already out of the podium battle.

But after the jump, the Swiss athlete lost a little bit of balance and had to get out of his compact position to save himself from crashing, which of course resulted in cutting his speed a bit.

The following roller section made for an absolute heart-beating finish of the day, as Place managed to gain some speed and get head-to-head with Andersson and Lenherr. The three gentlemen fought until the very finish line, where however a photo finish proved that home hero Viktor Andersson crossed the finish line before Place, kicking Lenherr off the podium.

“It was a strange race, but of course I am happy to win again,” Bastien Midol commented after the race.

The programme for the week continues with qualifications on Thursday and Friday for the races on Saturday at 13:00 CET and Sunday at 12:00 CET.

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