"It’s a good way to go into the Paralympics. It’s still some months, but I think it’s pretty great.”
Lisa Bunschoten, Cecile Hernandez-Cervellon and Mike Schultz all finished strong at the World Para Snowboard World Cup, going undefeated as the last day wrapped up Saturday (2 December) in Pyha, Finland, with snowboard-cross.
The third World Cup on the circuit saw new faces rise to the podium on day one, but three snowboarders showed consistency to finish top of the standings on day two.
After flexing her strength in banked slalom at the last World Cup in Landgraaf, Netherlands, Dutch rider Bunschoten showed she is also strong in snowboard-cross. The Worlds silver medallist beat compatriot Renske van Beek in the women’s SB-LL2 big final. Australia’s Joany Badenhorst took the bronze ahead of Spain’s Astrid Fina Paredes.
“I didn’t feel so good this morning but I got it all together and went for it so I’m pretty happy to stand here,” Bunschoten said. “It’s a good way to go into the Paralympics. It’s still some months, but I think it’s pretty great.”
In the women’s SB-LL1, France’s Hernandez-Cervellon also had an encouraging weekend in Pyha ahead of the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games. After two runner-up finishes in Landgraaf, Hernandez-Cervellon secured her second straight win in snowboard-cross, this time beating the USA’s Nicole Roundy. It was an all-American race in the small final, as Amy Purdy crossed the line ahead of Brenna Huckaby.
The men’s SB-LL1 big final saw a repeat from Friday, with the USA’s Schultz beating his compatriot Noah Elliott. After not making the podium the previous day, Dutch world champion Chris Vos defeated Austria’s Reinhold Schett for the bronze medal.
“It was a bit closer to the finish with my teammate, me and Noah were bumping coming down the hill at the top half, and he was keeping me honest,” Schultz said.
US reigning world champion Mike Minor returned to the top of the podium in the men’s SB-UL, beating France’s Maxime Montaggioni. Great Britain’s James Barnes-Miller topped Canada’s Andrew Genge for third place.
“I was able to reel it in today after an off-day yesterday,” Minor said. “I had a friend pass away before the race the night before so I was having an off-day yesterday. But I was able to refocus and go out and get it for him today.”
The men’s SB-LL2 podium continues to mix up, with Japan’s Gurimu Narita taking the victory ahead of the USA’s Evan Strong. Finland’s Matti Suur-Hamari grabbed another podium finish on home snow, beating Great Britian’s Owen Pick.
Eighty athletes competed at the third and penultimate World Cup. Next up are the World Cup Finals in February at Big White, Canada.
Complete results from Pyha are available on the World Para Snowboard website.