Naeslund repeats and Midol back to winning ways

Another perfectly sunny day in Innichen/ San Candido to enjoy the last competition for this year, just before Christmas is what ski cross fans got to witness on Monday morning in South Tyrol.

After we saw already some amazing ski cross action on Sunday, the second of back-to-back competitions was clearly going to be at least the same adrenaline rush. And yes, what excitement it was indeed…

Sandra Naeslund wins sixth out of seven races

For the big final it was once again Sandra Naeslund (SWE), Fanny Smith (SUI) in the start gate, accompanied by the Canadian duo Marielle Thompson and Hannah Schmidt, who had made it into the big final for the first time in her career.

With a perfect start out of the gate, just like in every heat on Sunday and also on Monday, Naeslund took the lead, but Smith seemed to have studied Sunday’s race very carefully and was able to get on the Swede’s tails and use the draft to be just behind her. Meanwhile there was quite a gap between Thompson and Smith and at the rookie was sitting in fourth after unintentionally skiing on Thompson’s skis.

At one of the following jumps, where Naeslund once again were almost neck-and-neck, Smith lost balance and had to make a saving move, to land without crashing, which cost her time and that’s when Naeslund was able to add valuable time to her lead. In the end, the World Champion from Sweden was 0.88 seconds faster than Smith and Marielle Thompson ended up winning third.

Naselund has now won six out of seven races so far this season and just seems unstoppable. A total of 48 World Cup podiums and 22 wins at the age of 25 is seriously impressive. If Naeslund will continue to win every single race that is left this season, she has the chance to make it to a total of 30 wins and beating Fanny Smith’s record of 29 victories, which are the most among men and women at the Audi FIS Ski Cross World Cup up to date.

Wow, this season is so not over and the stories just keep getting better. Not to forget the tiny detail that we are in an Olympic season, so the highlight of the year is yet to come…

Bastien Midol is back on top of the box

As the finalists of today’s competition, it was a Swiss party with Sunday’s winner Ryan Regez and his two team mates Romain Detraz and Tobias Baur, who made his big final debut today, joined by one sole Frenchman, yesterday’s second place winner, Bastien Midol.

Although it was Romain Detraz with the fastest start and an impressive performance throughout the entire competition after his comeback from an injury, it was Sunday’s winner Regez, who got into the lead after the start section and Bastien Midol just right behind him. A fight, we had already seen on Sunday. Detraz was then in third and the rookie Baur in fourth.

After the “step-down” element, Regez gained a lot of speed and managed to enlarge the gap between him and the Frenchman. However, entering into the negative turn and the following left turn, that’s when we saw Midol getting ready for the pass. Meanwhile, this was the section that Tobi Baur overtook his team mate Detraz.

Continuing into the last turn, that’s when Bastien Midol made the pass on Regez, who stayed really close behind him and tried to use the draft, but wasn’t able to get back into first. And just like that, Midol took his first win this season with a 0.06 margin on Regez, who made it to back-to-back podiums here in Innichen/ San Candido and Tobias Baur grabbed his first ever podium spot.

The World Cup leader entering into the Xmas break on the women’s side is of course Sandra Naeslund with 550 points in total and 124 points ahead of runner-up Fanny Smith. And for the men, Bastien Midol with Monday’s win and a total of 357 points stole the leader bib from his team mate Terence Tchiknavorian, who is now sitting in second with a total of 310 points.

The World Cup leaders will keep the bibs until our first double-racing action back in the New Year, which will be on January 14 and 15 in Nakiska, Canada.

That’s it, that’s all folks! It has been a couple of very intense days with 6 races within 10 days. Time to be driving home for Christmas to eat way “TOO MAAAANY” Christmas cookies, recharge the batteries and spend some time with our loved ones.

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