The need for speed will push Snowboard Cross athletes
9 March 2017
SNOWBOARD: Australia’s Snowboard Cross athletes Belle Brockhoff, Alex Pullin, Jarryd Hughes, Cam Bolton and Adam Lambert are looking forward to sunny conditions in Sierra Nevada, Spain when qualifying begins on Friday night (AEDT) for the 2017 FIS Freestyle Ski and Snowboard World Championships.
Leading the strong Australian team are Belle Brockhoff, who is currently second in the overall FIS World Cup standings, and 2011 and 2013 World Champion Alex ‘Chumpy’ Pullin who is ranked fourth on the world leaderboard.
Pullin has two World Cup podium results this season, including a win at Feldberg (GER) and third at Montafon (AUT).
The two-time Olympian most recently won the small final at the La Molina (ESP) World Cup after leading at the end of qualification.
“Being at this point in the season in tip-top condition with the body, as well as having some really good results under the belt is a good bit of momentum coming in,” Pullin said.
The 29-year-old said Sierra Nevada’s mild conditions would allow for the best kind of racing.
“We’ve seen quite a few tough conditions this year which is all part of it, but I’m hoping we might get a bit lucky with some weather. It’s obviously very warm here (so) the track is going to be soft, but visibility and hopefully speed-wise it should stay pretty consistent.”
“I try to adapt to everything as best I can and over my career I’ve definitely had reasonably solid results in most conditions,” he said.
Joining Pullin in the men’s event are Sochi Olympians Jarryd Hughes and Cam Bolton as well as 19-year-old Adam Lambert who has enjoyed two top seven placings in his debut World Cup season.
21-year-old Hughes described this season as his best yet and he is looking for another strong result.
“In terms of overall results, I’ve been performing top eight at every event progressing into these World Championships,” Hughes said.
“I think I need to keep doing what I’m doing, working on having fun, really progressing through the rounds, sticking to the basics and following through,” he said.
Dual World Cup winner this season Belle Brockhoff will be Australia’s sole entrant in the women’s event and the 24-year-old is ready to ‘throw down’ after a disappointing outing at La Molina, which saw her slip from first to second in the World Cup rankings with one event remaining in the World Cup after the Championships in Spain.
“For me personally it’s almost nice having a bad result leading into this event because it reminds you that you really have to work,” Brockoff said.
She said the course and conditions would suit her riding technique.
“Something I love doing is big courses, the features are more difficult and they’re a lot faster.
“I know if I ride my best I’ll do well. I’m feeling confident especially seeing how big it is,” she said.
Qualifications for the Snowboard Cross World Championships begin on Friday at 8.20pm (AEDT) with finals to follow on Sunday. The Aussie men will also participate in the team’s event on Monday.
You can watch the finals live on Eurosport or on live stream from Ski & Snowboard Australia https://www.skiandsnowboard.org.au/2017-snowboard--freestyle-world-champs/