World Champs go for the win in Val Thorens

WOW, after an entire week of a very tough battle with the weather conditions here in Val Thorens, the ski cross family got rewarded with a beautiful sunny day at last for Sunday’s competition that had been rescheduled from Friday (yep, you guessed it right, because of the bad weather conditions).

We literally couldn’t have asked for better conditions after Saturday’s tough race with bad visibility and really a big challenge for the athletes.

The track looked perfect already for the men’s quali (women’s qualification result were valid after Thursday’s run, but when it was time for the men, the weather hit in quite hard, so it had to be cancelled) and remained that way until it was time for finals.

World Champ Naeslund takes back-to-back wins

So, for the last heat of the day on the women’s side, Brittany Phelan (CAN) and Sandra Naeslund (SWE) repeated their performances from the day before, entering the big final. They were joined by Swiss ski cross ace Fanny Smith and 2019 World Champion Marielle Thompson (CAN).

Racing seemed just so effortless for Naeslund, considering she did a whole race up until finals the day before and taking the win. Naeslund’s skis seemed so fast already out of the start gate, securing the Swede once again first position, while Smith jumped into second position, leaving the battle for third up to the Canadians.

It was Thompson who could edge out her team mate Phelan to fourth and get into third position. It seemed as if in the first negative turn, a change of positions was almost possible, but in the end, Naeslund showed some amazing racing again, showing that she is in top shape and truly is the World Champion.

Smith followed as second across the finish line and Marielle Thompson made a great comeback to the podium after a very heavy summer of rehab for her knee, which seemed to be holding up greatly, according to Thompson’s performance.

“In the negative, I wasn’t skiing that good today, but I am happy that I could keep the lead all the way. The course was a bit faster than yesterday and I definitely prefer racing like this and it was really a lot of fun and tight racing,” Naeslund commented in the finish.

World Champ Fiva for the win

The last four men in the start gate for the big final were World Champ Alex Fiva, Saturday’s winner Terence Tchiknavorian (FRA), USA’s Tyler Wallasch and Italy’s Simone Deromedis.

Tchiknavorian went to repeat his win from the day before and started like a rocket to get into the lead, but World Champ Alex Fiva, who had been performing really strongly throughout the competition, wouldn’t make it that easy for the Frenchman, so when the opportunity came to make a pass, Fiva went for it.

Probably also a bit more strength in the legs allowed Fiva to stay in the lead and the young Italian sat in third. But Tyler Wallasch, who literally fought his way into the big final, wouldn’t give up easily. So, entering into the first negative, Wallasch took the upper line and going for the third spot.

However, Deromedis fought back at the next opportunity and made an incredible pass on Wallasch. That way, Fiva took the win, Tchiknavorian came in second making back-to-back podiums and Simone Deromedis took his maiden World Cup podium. What a show!

“I had a good day today, managed to survive the negative turn somehow and then just managed to do some fast skiing,” the World Champ commented. “I am really happy that we can have a race in Arosa now. It’s my home, so I always like skiing there and for sure I will try to make it on the podium,” Fiva added.

World Cup leaders after today’s race are still Sandra Naeslund, of course, with 3 wins in 3 races this season and a total of 300 points. And on the men’s side, Terence Tchiknavorian also kept his leader bib with a total of 188 points.

We want to say a big “THANK YOU” to the tireless organizing committee of Val Thorens for fighting so hard through those tough weather conditions and with these unbelievably huge amounts of snow.

A big shoutout goes also to our partner Infront Sports and Media for making TV production possible for Sunday’s race, which we know was a huge task.

So, with two races in the books for this weekend, we are packing up those bags of ours and are heading for the next stop in Arosa, Switzerland, for one individual competition on December 14 and one mixed-team event on December 15 at night under the flood lights. We are super excited for those night events.

Ollie Davies did not make it out of qualification with Davies in 46th plac.

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