Winter X Games: Rahlves settles for 4th in skiercross final
ASPEN, COLO. ” Buttermilk’s X Course has been the place for repeat performances at this year’s Winter X Games.
Truckee’s Nate Holland sped his way to a fourth consecutive gold while Lindsey Jacobellis made it two straight during Saturday’s boardercross men’s and women’s finals. And Sunday, France’s Ophelie David captured her third straight women’s skiercross crown.
Daron Rahlves of Truckee did not enjoy the same luck in his attempt to repeat as champ of the men’s skiercross.
Canadian Stanley Hayer surged to the front at the start of Sunday’s men’s final and never relinquished the lead en route to the win.
As competitors jockeyed for position behind Hayer, Rahlves was involved in a collision that knocked him off course and out of contention. Rahlves, a decorated former World Cup skier making his third appearance at Winter X, ended up finishing fourth.
Japan’s Hiroomi Takizawa mounted a late charge from the back of the field to clip Swiss rider Andreas Steffen in a photo finish and take silver.
“I think we kind of ruined ESPN’s show,” Hayer joked about knocking Rahlves, the field’s lone American, off the podium. “I came in second last year, but other than that, no one knows who I am.”
That should change now. In 2005, Hayer took eighth in his fist Winter X Games. He followed that up with a seventh-place finish in 2006 and a fourth in 2007.
Sunday, he was the clear favorite in both the qualifying and final rounds.
“My starts were really good today,” Hayer said. “I was surprised that no one ever passed me. There was only one [track], and it got worked in pretty good. I left a big hole behind me. I thought someone would blow right by me.”
Rahlves, who settled into second early, appeared primed to reel in Hayer. But a slight misstep cost him time, and he soon found himself in a crowded pack as the field headed toward a narrow gap with walls of ice rising on either side. Rahlves collided with another competitor, was knocked off balance and skidded into deep snow abutting the course, losing most of his speed.
Steffen made it cleanly through. As the finish line approached, he set his sights on Hayer.
“There was some gap between me and him, but I caught up,” Steffen said. “I said ‘We’re here. Let’s go for gold.'”
Hayer, who said he looked for shadows as he flew off jumps and around off-camber turns, saw little during 4,300 of the course’s 4,400 feet. As he launched off the final jump, however, he finally had company. Steffen and Takizawa, who made an impressive charge to the front, were now just a few feet out of the lead.
While he didn’t have enough ground to top Hayer, Takizawa managed to inch past Steffen at the line. Video replay confirmed that the Japanese rider, a former mogul skier, had won silver.
“I was a little nervous this morning, the course was so slow,” Takizawa said. “It’s been eight years, but [now] I’m on the podium.”
1. Stanley Hayer / Kimberley, BC, Canada / 97.070
2. Hiroomi Takizawa / Yonezawa, Japan / 97.186
3. Andreas Steffen / Gstaad, Switzerland / 97.231
4. Daron Rahlves / Truckee, Calif. / 98.498
5. Brian Bennett / Quesnel, BC, Canada / 98.957
6. Eric Andersson / Nora, Sweden / 99.498
7. Brady Leman / Calgary, AB, Canada / 94.542
8. Tomas Kraus / Decin, Czech Republic / 94.759
9. Tommy Eliasson / A-Stersund, Sweden / 96.555
10. Davey Barr / Whistler, BC, Canada / 96.608
11. Andy Matt / Flirsch, Austria / 96.773
12. Chris Del Bosco / Vail, Colo. / 96.945
1. Ophelie David / Alpe D’Huez, France / 106.052
2. Magdalena Jonsson / Nora, Sweeden / 107.260
3. Sasa Faric / Radomlje, Slovakia / 111.944
4. Seraina Murk / Lenzerheide, Switzerland / 117.251
5. Karin Huttary / Innsbruck, Austria / 109.361
6. Kelsey Serwa / Kelowna, BC, Canada / DNF
7. Julia Murray / Whistler, BC, Canada / 107.478
8. Ashleigh McIvor / Whistler, BC, Canada / 110.979
9. Marion Josserand / Sachilienne, France / 115.504
10. Jenny Owens / Freshwater, Australia / 111.879
11. Anik Demers-Wild / Truckee, Calif. / 151.246
12. Hedda Berntsen / Oslo, Norway / DNF
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