Great Britain’s Charlotte Bankes moved one step closer to keeping her Crystal Globe trophy in Veysonnaz, Switzerland on Thursday with her fifth FIS Snowboard Cross World Cup victory in a row. The men’s event, meanwhile, is wide open after defending World Cup champion Martin Noerl of Germany took advantage of his faltering rivals to claim a second victory of the season and edge to the top of the rankings going into the final event of 2022/23 – a double header in Mont-Sainte-Anne, Canada, next week.
Five for five: form fires Bankes into World Cup driving seat
With its fast layout and 950-metre drop, Veysonnaz is a favourite among fans and competitors alike – hence this was the 16th time it had hosted a snowboard cross World Cup event. And on a still, sunny day in the Swiss Alps, it delivered again, albeit with the men’s and women’s line-ups for the Big Finals having very different feels.
While Bankes’ progress was serene, the British boarder’s only realistic rival for the Crystal Globe, Chloe Trespeuch of France, had to rely on a photo finish to squeeze through to the final women’s race of the day. They were joined by two other heavyweights, snowboard cross legend Eva Adamczykova, and this season’s breakout star, Josie Baff of Australia, who won silver behind the Czech rider at the world championships in March.
On a course known for its big drop and jump out of the starting gate, Bankes and Baff did well to stay up after the former came down on the back of the latter’s board as they landed. As a result, Bankes slipped back to third, and was forced to bide her time.
Then, on the final corner, the 27-year-old took an aggressive outside line to hit the front, and she managed to maintain her speed over the final set of rollers to take victory ahead of Adamczykova, Baff and Trespeuch respectively.
Bankes, who extended her lead over Trespeuch in the overall standings to 68 points, said: “I’m really happy. It’s been tight racing all day but that final was very, very tight – changing positions and really fighting for the same line. With Josie [Baff], I was scared that I was going to go down but we both stayed really strong to stay on our feet. Then it was just a really tight battle with loads of passing. I think it was fun to watch but it was fun to ride as well, so yeah, really happy to manage to make that pass on the last turn to come out in front.”
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