Holland reclaims boardercross gold
The Aspen Times
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Monday, six-time Winter X boardercross gold medalist Nate Holland tweeted: “XGames here I come and I want my gold back.”
He admitted that it was a bold claim, but he backed up his words Saturday afternoon.
Holland took the bronze medal last year, snapping his streak of five consecutive victories. This time around, Holland took advantage of a late crash by Stian Sivertzen of Germany and cruised to his seventh Winter X gold.
“It always feels great to be back on top,” Holland said. “It all came down to today, and I knew I had to ride my heart out to back my words up.”
Nick Baumgartner, last year’s winner, took silver, and Jayson Hale settled for bronze – his first time on the podium since 2006 – to complete the U.S. sweep. American Alex Deibold finished fourth.
The final race generated all the drama and chaos that boardercross is known for: Sivertzen took the early lead after Holland mishandled the jumps at the start. According to Holland and Baumgartner, the course seemed to be running faster as the day wore on.
“I found myself in my usual spot right in Winter X: the middle of the pack,” Holland said. “I scouted a bunch of passing and drafting zones, but I just was not able to find a passing zone.”
Baumgartner struggled to stay on the course as he carried too much speed into the second banked curve. He rode the top of that curve and wound up at the back of the pack with Hale.
“The speeds changed a lot, and the course got faster,” Baumgartner said. “I was on the draft the entire time, and on this course you are going faster than the guys in front of you, but you just can’t get around them. I was just trying to hang on and get myself in a position where if something happened I could capitalize on it.”
The absence of seven-time Winter X gold medalist Lindsey Jacobellis left things wide open in the women’s boardercross event Saturday.
The top female qualifier, Dominique Maltais of Canada, easily won her semifinal race and then took the gold medal by almost two seconds over Bulgarian Alexandra Jekova and Canada teammate Maelle Ricker.
Jacobellis tore the anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee during practice Wednesday.
“Last year, I went to the final and made some mistakes,” Maltais said. “I was really mad at myself. This year, I was really looking forward to this one. … I gave everything in the last run.”
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