Lucas Eguibar wins the qualifying round in the FIS Snowboard Cross World Cup in Baqueira Beret
On Friday the 1st, the Val d’Aran and Valls d’Àneu ski resort welcomed the 91 international riders who gave their utmost to qualify for the finals on Saturday the 2nd of March. In the men’s category, the San Sebastián native Lucas Eguibar (RFEDI) made the best time, while in the women’s category, the quickest was the Czech Eva Samkova.
The Olympic medallist Regino Hernández, another member of the RFEDI Spanish team, also qualified in the first round by ending in a fantastic 8th place.
Under beautiful weather conditions, on Friday the 1st of March the ski resort of Baqueira Beret was the backdrop of the qualifying rounds of the FIS Snowboard Cross World Cup, an event sponsored by Movistar and Seguros Catalana Occidente. A total of 91 athletes (56 men and 35 women), the best in the world, gave their best to get into the finals, which will be held on Saturday the 2nd of March. The qualifying rounds for women started at 11:15 am and the men’s at 1:15 pm.
Sixteen women and 32 men will compete in the finals on Saturday. In the women’s qualifying rounds, the top 8 went directly to the finals, while for men the first 16 did. The other qualifiers have to go for all or nothing in a spectacular 2nd qualifying round to determine the rosters.
Lucas Eguibar, first in the men’s qualifying rounds
The San Sebastián native Lucas Eguibar (age 25), of the Royal Spanish Winter Sports Federation (RFEDI), has a chance to get to the winner’s stand in the Baqueira Beret World Cup, given that he got the best time, 53.44 seconds, in the qualifying round on Friday. The second male competitor to win a place in the finals on Saturday was the 25-year-old Austrian Alessandro Haemmerle (53.63), followed by the Italian Lorenzo Sommariva (53.89), also 25 years old.
The competitor with the fourth fastest time was the 27-year-old American Mick Dierdorff (54.13). In fifth place came fellow American Nick Baumgartner, 37 years old, with a time of 54.24. Eighth place went to the Spanish Olympic medallist from RFEDI, 27-year-old Regino Hernández, with a time of 54.39.
Statements of the Spanish riders
After finishing the race, the winner, Eguibar, was very satisfied with the results of the qualifying rounds. “It felt really easy, I went as fast as I could and the results were great.”
His teammate, the Andalusian rider Regino Hernández, stated that he had “a great feeling” and confessed to being “happy with having made the finals in the first round”. Looking towards the finals on Saturday, “I’m jacked up and raring to go and give it my all”.
Eva Samkova, leader in the Friday qualifying rounds
The Czech Eva Samkova was the fastest rider in Friday’s qualifying rounds, with a time of 56.60 seconds. At the age of 25, she currently ranks second in the SBX World Cup with 2,400 points. Second place went to the Italian Francesca Gallina (22 years old) with a time of 56.80, while third place, right behind her, was the American Lindsey Jacobellis (56.81), the rider who is currently in first place in the generals with 2,800 points.
Fourth and fifth place went to the Italian Michela Moioli (57.25) and the Briton Charlotte Bankes (57.55), both of them 23 years old.
Places to enjoy the sports spectacle
The Boardercross course in the Beret zone is broad and located under the Blanhiblar main slope, so it is really easy to reach. The mountain itself is shaped like an amphitheatre, so it allows you to see almost the entire upper part of the competition easily on the mountainside. This is one point that spectators rated very highly in 2016. We recommend watching the early rounds of the competition, which have the most international snowboarders, in this location, since you can also see the jumble of snowboarders jockeying for position at the start.
For the finals, the best place to experience the bustle and excitement of the athletes is the finish line. The organisers have installed a giant screen which will cover the entire course live, and there is a fenced-off area with good visibility set aside for the public, which is free of charge. Plus, Santi Gallardo, the speaker who has been providing live commentary of the snowboard and alpine World Cups held in the Pyrenees since 2008, knows a great deal about the athletes and provides live details about this sport that only he knows.
For those who prefer to watch the event from the upper part and therefore without the loudspeakers, we recommend listening to the commentary through the live broadcasts on the websites of Teledeporte http://www.rtve.es/directo/teledeporte and Esport 3 https://www.ccma.cat/tv3/directe/esport3. Or if you prefer the silence, you can keep track of the rounds via the FIS’s live-timing at https://www.fis-ski.com.
The finals on Saturday
On Saturday the 2nd of March, the 32 riders in the men’s category and the 16 in the women’s who qualified on Friday will take to the slopes. The riders will compete in the final sixteen. They will hit the slopes in groups of 4, and the first 2 in each qualifying round will go on to the next elimination round (sixteens, quarter-finals, semi-finals and final) until reaching the big final and the small final to decide 1st through 8th places.
The competition tomorrow will be a huge spectacle in which the top international riders will vie for their place on the winner’s stand. The German rider Martin Noerl currently leads the FIS SBX men’s World Cup with 1,650 points. Just behind him are the Italians Emanuel Perathoner (1,278.2 points) and Omar Visintin (1,135 points), who are in second and third place, respectively. Other top-ranked riders include the Australian Alex Pullin, the winner of the Baqueira event in 2016, who is currently in 7th place in the general SBX ranking, with 990 points.
In the women’s category, the top place will be fought for until the very last second, and the leading candidate is the American Lindsey Jacobellis with 2,800 points. Other possible winners are Eva Samkova (2,400 points), who ranks second in the SBX World Cup, and the Italian Michaela Moioli, who comes in third with 1,600 points and last year was declared the winner in the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics (South Korea). In fourth place is the Briton Charlotte Bankes, with 1,450 points, and in fifth is Nelly Moenne Loccoz from France (1,200 points).
A total of 91 snowboarders have travelled to Baqueira Beret (56 men and 35 women) from 17 countries: Germany (7), Andorra (1), Argentina (1), Australia (6), Austria (9), Canada (9), Spain (2), the United States (16), France (9), Finland (1), Italy (11), Japan (2), the Netherlands (1), Poland (1), Great Britain (2), the Czech Republic (4) and Switzerland (9).
In the 2018-2019 season, the World Cup circuit has hosted a total of 3 competitions in two European ski resorts: Cervinia (Italy) and Feldberg (Germany). The Val d’Aran resort is the third stop in this spectacular sport, which includes physical contact, and where strategy and improvisation mix to result in explosive descents. The final competition on the circuit will be held in the Swiss city of Veysonnaz on the 16th of March, where the winners of the Crystal Globe for the 2018-2019 season will be announced.
SBX World Cup Programme
Saturday 2 March:
12:15 – 1:00 pm: Training
1:30 – 2:50 pm: SBX finals (sixteens, quarter-finals, semi-finals and final)
3:00 – 6:00 om: Party with DJ Serx Einheri in the village