After winning the qualies on Wednesday, Samkova showed what she got in her on the 2023 World Champs course came race day and, in the end, also taking over the World Cup leader bib from Moioli, she stated after the race: “It was so tough today and really difficult, because the girls were riding amazingly. And I put my 150% in all of the runs, but especially in the final. It was really hard, super tight and my legs are really burning, so I am super happy that I made it, but also congrats to all the girls!”
The battle for the leader bib continues, as Michela Moioli is now sitting in second at the World Cup ranking, but only 5 points short to Samkova, who has a total of 305 points. Sitting in third rank is still Faye Gulini (USA) with 222 points, so it will be interesting to see, how the standings might change with still 2 races left this season and one already coming up on Sunday. The globe is definitely unfinished business still, which keeps the excitement up.
Eliot Grondin on fire
For the final heat of the day, it was Idre bronze medallist Eliot Grondin (CAN), who had been showing incredible performances so far in this season, World Cup leader Alessandro Haemmerle (AUT), his teammate Lukas Pachner and Italian Lorenzo Sommariva, ready to conquer the 2023 Bakuriani World Champs course.
Riders ready – attention – GO! Grondin shot out of the start gate in an incredible manner, immediately getting into the lead, whereas Hammerle got neck-and-neck with him and tried to position himself in first, but did not succeed to do so. Sommariva was sitting in third and the second Austrian, Lukas Pachner, fourth.
Hammerle made an approach to pass the young leading Canadian after a bank turn, after gaining enough speed to make the move, in which he finally succeeded, edging Grondin to second position. After another turn, the Canadian had a little problem with keeping the balance on his board, but managed to stay on his feet.
Of course, that moment was the chance for Sommariva to approach Grondin and fight for the second spot. The Italian took the inside line at the following bank and overtook the young Canadian. And after the next jump and roller section that came up next, Sommariva even made an attack on Haemmerle to pass, which he managed to do.
But then, from the outside line, suddenly Grondin reappeared at the front of the heat and now it was also Lukas Pachner attacking from his fourth position. The athletes were now in a really close pack and on the final meters, Pachner even managed to pass Sommariva on the outside line and almost overtaking Grondin on the very finish line.
It was a photo finish in the end that showed that the victory went to Eliot Grondin, making it his very first World Cup win, second place to Lukas Pachner and rounding out the podium was Lorenzo Sommariva.