Baqueira Beret, the venue of a thrilling FIS Snowboard Cross World Cup with victories for Eva Samkova (CZE) and Alessandro Haemmerle (AUT)
The thrilling final of the Snowboard Cross World Cup at the Baqueira Beret was brimming with adrenaline and spectacular moments. The winners were the Austrian Alessandro Haemmerle in the men’s category and the Czech Eva Samkova in the women’s.
Regarding Spain’s representation, snowboard cross was shown to be one of the most demanding sports. Despite leading in the first part of the quarter-finals, Lucas Eguibar (who came in first in the qualifying rounds) dropped down to 13th place. His teammate, Regino Hernández, was left behind in the sixteens and ended in 26th place.
Saturday the 2nd of March marked the end of an amazing two days as riders vied for the Snowboard Cross World Cup in Baqueira Beret. This Catalan ski resort witnessed the most incredible snowboard spectacle.
In the women’s competition, first place went to the 25-year-old Czech Eva Samkova, who led in all the descents in which she participated. Thanks to these outstanding results, she has been jacked up to first place in the general standings, with 3,400 points, the same number of points as the American Lindsey Jacobellis (33 years old), who came in third. That means that both riders are tied for first place in the overall ranking. After the awards ceremony, Samkova confessed that she was “very happy. The race was lots of fun, with a great route, and I think everyone had a wonderful time. Everything ran really smoothly, with outstanding organisation, and it was a great day”. She also mentioned “that it’s very exciting for me that there is a tie for first place in points in the SBX World Cup”.
Second place went to the Frenchwoman Chloe Trespeuch, 24 years old, who also played a starring role. After the finals, she was ranked 6th with 1,300 points. Finally, her fellow Frenchwoman Nelly Moenne Loccoz, 28 years old, came in fourth, making her 5th in the general rankings (1,700 points).
The winner of the men’s final held in the Val d’Aran and Valls d’Àneu ski resort was the Austrian Alessandro Haemmerle, 25 years old, who led all the final rounds. With these 1,000 points, he moves up to second place in the SBX circuit with a total of 1,640 points. Right now, the leader in this ranking is the German Martin Noerl (1,830 points). At the end of the competition, the winner said, “I love being back here. I came 3 years ago and felt great, and today this route felt familiar again and I was able to demonstrate my best snowboarding. I’m really happy.”
The second to cross the finish line was the Australian Adam Lambert, 21 years old, who is now 10th in the overall ranking with 1,021.6 points. The Canadian Kevin Hill, 32 years old, who was also on the winner’s stand in the 2016 SBX World Cup in Baqueira Beret, came in third. He is currently ranked 15th overall with 898.2 points. In fourth place is the American Mick Dierdorff (27 years old), who is ranked 13th overall with 930 points.
Spaniards in the finals
Even though he won the qualifying rounds on Friday the 1st of March and set a good pace in the sixteens on the final day, the 25-year-old rider from San Sebastián Lucas Eguibar, a member of the Promosport club (FVDI-NKEF), fell in the quarter-finals in a tight descent, leaving him in 13th place in the finals.
This Saturday, Eguibar was a clear example that snowboard cross is a demanding discipline, where technique and speed play an important role and luck is crucial. With today’s result, the world runner-up at Sierra Nevada 2017 is now ranked 16th in the World Cup, with 840 points.
After this competition, the San Sebastián native from the Royal Spanish Winter Sports Federation (RFEDI) has declared that “the route was pretty good”. In turn, he also assessed today’s race: “I was really happy because my starts were great. Curve three was a bit difficult for us, so I tried to take it high to come out of it well, but I got a little inside and started to fall and there was nothing I could do. I did everything I could, but races are races and you have to keep going.”
His standout performances this season include his 4th place in the FIS World Cup in Park City and 7th in the Feldberg World Cup in German. Throughout his entire athletic career, Eguibar has participated in 46 World Cup competitions and has been on the winners’ stand 10 times, with two 1st-place wins. Furthermore, in the 2014 Sochi Olympics in Russia, he ranked 7th and in the 2019 PyeongChang Olympics in South Korea he came in 33rd.
In 2015, he won the Crystal Globe at the SBX World Cup, which was held in La Molina, and in 2016 he earned the bronze in the circuit. He earned two silvers in the Sierra Nevada 2017 World Cup, one in the individual category and the other in the SBX team category along with his fellow rider Regino Hernández. In addition to Sierra Nevada, he has also participated in the La Molina ’11, Stoneham ’13 and Kreischberg ’15 World Cups.
The other RFEDI member, the Olympian Regino Hernández (27 years old) from the EOE club in Sierra Nevada, did not manage to get into the quarter-finals in a masterful descent down to the last curve; however, a small riding error earned him a penalty and his rivals beat him to the finish line. The Andalusia native came in 26th.
Despite it all, he performed well on Friday by qualifying in the first round in 8th place. Since last season, this Andalusian rider has been the icon of Spanish snowboarding after winning a bronze medal in the 2019 PyeongChang Olympics. After today’s competition, he is ranked 37th (177.9 points) in the World Cup circuit.
Francis Coll, director general of Baqueira Beret, stated that for the resort, “the competition this winter has reaffirmed the success we already garnered back in the 2016 edition, and it makes it clear to us that these events with international TV coverage are a great way for people to get to know Val d'Aran, Baqueira and the potential of the Pyrenees in the world”.
The president of the Royal Spanish Winter Sports Federation, May Peus España, described the organisation of Baqueira Beret as excellent, with the entire Val d’Aran involved in coordinating with the RFEDI. She also stated that “the FIS will no doubt want to return to Beret in a new edition. And in terms of the sports results for Spain, they didn’t turn out too well today, although we performed really well, as shown yesterday by Lucas Eguibar earning the best time in the qualifiers, coming in first place, and Regino with his fantastic 8th place. This Saturday in the elimination rounds, we simply weren’t as lucky.”
An incredible atmosphere
Around 3,000 people came through the event zone in Beret during these finals to cheer on the athletes. In the Blanhiblar zone, they enjoyed the spectacle with jumps up to 20 metres high while savouring traditional products from Val d’Aran in the Village, such as the famous Olla Aranesa stew. At the end of the competition, the participants and audience enjoyed the closing party in the village to the tunes spun by DJ Serx Einheri.
A total of 91 snowboarders 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).