Canada’s Brady Leman Wins World Cup Silver in Men’s Skicross in Italy

INNICHEN, Italy — Olympic champion Jean-Frederic Chapuis of France beat Canada’s Brady Leman to win a second successive skicross World Cup on Saturday, cutting Chris Del Bosco’s lead in the standings after the Canadian was eliminated in the quarter-finals. After last week’s success on home slopes, Chapuis finished ahead of the Calgary skier in the four-man final. Johannes Rohrweck of Austria was third, followed by Bastien Midol of France.

“Chapuis was hot on this track all day and I almost had him out of the gate,” said Leman. “He had the inside track and I was waiting for my opportunity to pass him but it never came. I’m really happy with my second-place finish.” Del Bosco was looking for his fourth win in five races, but instead saw his lead on Chapuis slashed to 16 points. Leman was third in the overall standings, 26 points behind his compatriot.

“I had a good feeling on my skis,” Chapuis said. “I felt like I could make a lot of speed in the turns. Everything was almost perfect. I could have maybe been a little bit better on the start, but it was OK. I felt (Leman) behind me on the first turn, but after that I just focused on my race, and on not making a mistake.”

In an earlier heat, Leman and Chapuis advanced from a four-man field that included Del Bosco — a Montreal resident — and Kevin Drury of Toronto. “It’s always tough to race against your teammates and I think this heat was the toughest battle of the day,” Leman said. “It’s kind of nice to race with your teammates but at the end of the day, there are no friends on race day. It was a tough heat and Chapuis and I got tangled up a few times but I was able to hold on and make it through to the next round.”

Olympic champion Marielle Thompson of Whistler, B.C., crashed while leading the women’s qualifying, injuring her hip. The Canadian skier was able to walk off the piste but was taken to hospital as a precautionary measure. Alpine Canada said “Thompson suffered no major injuries and will use time over the next few weeks to recover.”

Heidi Zacher of Germany was the surprise winner, taking advantage of a crash to claim only a second career victory, four years after her first. World Cup titleholder Anna Holmlund and Sandra Naeslund appeared to be on course for a Swedish one-two but as Alizee Baron attempted to overtake them, the French skier got tangled up in Holmund’s skis, knocking Naeslund off balance and crashing into the nets. Zacher was able to pass the trio and continue unchallenged to the finish line.

“It’s great to be back on the top of the podium,” Zacher said. “I like the course here and I like being here. I always come back here with a good feeling, and now to get the victory, it’s perfect.

“I was trying to find somewhere to pass, but I had no chance. And then into the last turn the other three girls all tried to pass each other, they all crashed, and I passed all of them and won the race. Perfect!”

World Cup leader Holmund was second, ahead of Naeslund. “I made a little mistake on the jump before the negative, and you can’t do that in the final,” Holmlund said. “Then Sandra came on one side and Alizee on the other side and … smack. It’s nothing to talk about though. It was fair skiing.”

Kelsey Serwa of Kelowna, B.C., finished 10th.


With files from The Canadian Press.

The Associated Press

Serwa Finds the Podium & Finishes Second

Calgary, Alta. (December 20, 2015) – Kelowna, B.C.-native and 2014 Olympic silver-medalist Kelsey Serwa, has found her stride this season, placing second in today’s ski cross race in Innichen/San Candido, Italy. The 26-year-old has been battling it out for a spot in the finals this season and took on some big names in today’s race to find the podium for the 17th time in her career. After time-off for injury recovery, Serwa proves she’s still a podium contender on the World Cup circuit.

“The final heat was definitely the most challenging of the day,” said Serwa of the big final. “We all switched positions two or three times in an exciting final.