Thompson back on top and Mobaerg with another Arosa win

A night event has always a special flair to it. The flood lights shining up the ski cross track and setting focus only on the course and the athletes, while the surrounding is all dark – that is magical! Add a little fire action while the stars shoot out of the gate to heat up the action and we couldn’t ask for a better show!

As in Arosa it is a sprint event, athletes need to be on top of their game from the very start on, because they don’t have a lot of time to make it across the finish line first or second respectively, in order to qualify into the next round. And oh boy were they focused and pushing hard through that night time sprint event under the floodlights…

Marielle Thompson back on top

The big final of women had three big names and a rookie in the start gate. Fanny Smith (SUI) as home hero, Marielle Thompson (CAN) back in shape as we saw in Val Thorens and of course Sandra Naeslund, current World Cup leader and World Champion plus Zoe Chore from team Canada made it into the big final of the night-time sprint event.

Already in the semi final it was a crazy fight between the two top rivals in ski cross on the women’s side Fanny Smith and Sandra Naeslund, which Smith did win and you could just see the determination in her eyes to absolutely fight until the win tonight.

Anyways, when the gates dropped, it was actually Naeslund, who shot out like a canon ball to be in the lead and Fanny Smith, as many times before this season, only saw the Swede’s back sitting in second position. Thompson got in third and the rookie Chore in fourth.

Entering the negative turn, Naeslund got pretty low on the line, while Smith chose the upper one, causing the gap between the two of them to get smaller and by the time the two got to the kicker, Smith and Naeslund where shoulder to shoulder. In the air, they made contact, causing Naeslund to do a solid 180 (and almost stand it), meanwhile Smith got out of the course onto the edge of it, really and had to maneuver herself back in to pass the next gate.

Speaking of passing the gate, while Naeslund was trying to survive her stunt, Thompson did an excellent job of not running into the Swede, also having very little space to still pass the next gate properly. But then, as Smith lost some speed during her saving move, Thompson gained somewhat of it and then also had the inside line free to get to the finish line in the fastest way possible, passing Smith on the very finish by 0.07 seconds.

Of course, with Naeslund down, Chore made the pass as well and got to her maiden career podium with third place.

“I feel awesome, in that final you saw that anything can happen in ski cross, so you have to keep it going all the way to the finish, but yeah, I am feeling really good and I am looking forward to the next race,” Marielle Thompson said immediately after the race.

Phew, no kidding anything can happen in ski cross…!

Mobaerg takes second Arosa career win

For the big final of men, it was Terence Tchiknavorian (FRA), who seemed to have gained enough confidence to be fighting for podium spots these days, as well as Johannes Rohrweck from Austria and last year’s winner of the first race in Arosa, David Mobaerg from Sweden and Canada’s Jared Shmidt.

Although Tchiknavorian was out of the gate with the fastest reaction time, it was the Swede Mobaerg, who took the inside line into the first left turn and secured the first spot. Tchiknavorian sat in second and heading into the negative turn, the Frenchman tried to take the highest line to pass, but Mobaerg didn’t leave any space for him to get by. Jared Schmidt sat in third position after Rohrweck did not manage to get a good start and was stuck in fourth.

And although the athletes behind Mobaerg all got into the Swede’s draft, trying to gain more speed and waiting for the possibility to pass, nothing changed until the finish line. The 22-year-old crossed the red line first, taking his second career win (the first one being here exactly one year ago), Terence Tchiknavorian got his back-to-back second place and Jaryd Schmidt his first podium this season and his second one in his career so far.

“I mean it is crazy to be up here on the podium and take first place again, it feels amazing,” Mobaerg commented. And he did say a clear “yay” for night races with a big smile on his face.

What a show!

After gaining another 50 points to her account of World Cup points, Sandra Naeslund (SWE) is still keeping the leader bib on the women’s side, still 84 points ahead of her rival Fanny Smith.

Frenchman Terence Tchiknavorian is the World Cup leader on the men’s side, 91 points ahead of team mate Bastien Midol.

Mixed-team event in store for Wednesday night in Arosa

Anyway, no time to slow down now, as we have another night event ahead of us tomorrow. And not just any kind of night event, it will be a mixed-team night event. Each mixed-team consists of a female and male athlete, with the male going down the course first and the women starting out of the start gate in the order and with the respective margin of the men crossing the finish line.

The first woman crossing the finish line, that’s the winning team of the heat and the second woman, of course, gets her team qualified as second.

The mixed-team event does not count for any individual World Cup points. It is the goal, however, to add this event format to the World Championships.

Title defenders from the World premiere of the mixed-team event are Team Switzerland with Fanny Smith and Jonas Lenherr. For tomorrow, Smith is going to team up with Ryan Regez though to try to go for the win on home soil. Who else is going to have a strong team in the gates to fight for the win?

Emma Peters qualified in 28th and finished in 28th after finishing fourth in her heat. Ollie Davies ran it close in making qualification as he finished in 63rd place. Arosa saw 64 make the knock out rounds. Davies finished in second in both of his heats in the round of 64 and then 32 before crashing in the round of 16 and as he had the slowest qualifying time, was placed in 16th place.

FIS press release

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