The winner of Friday’s race and current World Champion, Charlotte Bankes, stated after the race: “It was a very fun race! Yesterday it was tight in the semi-finals, so that proved that I had the vibe in me to make it. After the World Champs, in Reiteralm, I really wasn’t riding well, so afterwards I had to work on my ride. It was quite the tactical race, so I am really happy with the choices I made. Today was just great, I had fast boards and made the right choices.”
Omar Visintin back on top
The final heat of two action-packed competition days in Georgia was left to the following gentlemen: The Italian duo Lorenzo Sommariva and Omar Visintin, Swiss athlete Kalle Koblet and World Cup leader Alessandro Haemmerle, who had to make up for the fourth place of the previous race day here in Bakuriani, which didn’t go exactly the way he had planned.
Koblet, who started at a World Cup big final for the second time in his career after Big White (CAN) 2020, where he missed the podium by an edge, shot out of the start gate as fast as a rocket, but soon Haemmerle was so fast on the outside line of the bank turn, that the Austrian World Cup leader got into first and Visintin close behind him also made a pass on the Swiss to get into second position.
Haemmerle, now in the lead got into some serious trouble after a step-up, when landing on the following roller, just before the next bank turn, as it seemed that his board caught some edge, causing him to completely turn his board around in a 180 manner.
Not surprisingly, the remaining three athletes were able to make their passes on Haemmerle, with Koblet getting into first, followed by the Italian duo Visintin and Sommariva. The Austrian in the meantime showed his excellent skills, because he turned his board around in no-time and was able to regain some speed after the following bank and rollers. He was still in fourth, but not as far behind, as one would think.
Koblet was still in the lead and Visintin on his tales, chasing the top spot of the heat, while in the meantime, Haemmerle gained more speed after a bank, where he chose the right line to overtake Sommariva, getting into third.
It was not until the second-last jump, where Visintin was able to make some more speed, then rush over the roller section and finally, after the final jump, being able to pass Koblet just before the finish line and grabbing a super tight victory.
Kalle Koblet claimed his maiden podium with Friday’s excellent performance and Haemmerle made a really good comeback to the podium after it seemed that he had almost lost everything after his near crash. And although Sommariva was able to get closer to the Austrian also after the final jump, the Italian wasn’t able to pass Haemmerle in the end, making it a fourth-place finish for him.