Home snowboarder Manuel Pozzerle is amongst a raft of the world’s best riders set to compete for overall titles in snowboard-cross and banked slalom at the IPC Snowboard World Cup Finals in Trentino, Italy, from Wednesday (16 March).
Snowboard-cross world champion Pozzerle currently sits second in the men’s SB-UL rankings with two races left. He is also going for a top-three finish in the banked slalom.
His main opponent in snowboard-cross is Austria’s Patrick Mayrhofer, who sits on top of the leader board after four wins.
In the banked slalom the USA’s Michael Minor has been impressive in his debut season, leading the rankings by 400 points ahead of Mayrhofer.
The Netherlands’ Renske van Beek will go for her latest win to cement her overall victory in the women’s banked slalom SB-UL.
An exciting conclusion is also expected in the men’s snowboard-cross SB-LL2. There are currently four athletes who could claim No.1 including Finnish world champion Matti Suur-Hamari.
The US trio of Michael Shea, Keith Gabel and Paralympic champion Evan Strong, known as ‘The Three Amigos’ are also in contention, with Shea currently leading.
Suur-Hamari is currently tied with Shea at the top of the banked slalom table. Waiting to capitalise on any mistakes are Strong and Gabel who are both within a race win of the leaders.
All eyes will be on the women’s snowboard-cross SB-LL2 as the Netherlands’ Lisa Bunschoten tries to unseat her mentor and Paralympic champion teammate Bibian Mentel-Spee.
Mentel-Spee has a 1,200 point headstart over Bunschoten and has been in stunning form since returning to competition in February.
The USA’s World Championships silver medallist Heidi Jo Duce currently sits in third and could provide an upset.
Bunschoten secured the overall banked slalom in Les Angles, France, last week. There will be a close race for second and third place between Duce, Mentel-Spee and Australia’s Joany Badenhorst.
With his main competitors not scheduled to compete in the men’s snowboard-cross SB-LL1, Dutch world champion Chris Vos looks set to claim the title.
However he will be challenged by Austria’s Reinhold Schett in the banked slalom. Schett will be hoping to convert his victories over Vos in snowboard-cross from this season to the technical demands of slalom.
France’s Paralympic silver medallist Cecile Hernandez-Cervellon sits third in the women’s snowboard-cross SB-LL1. Podium finishes for the Frenchwoman could see her move up the rankings.
Hernandez-Cervellon is also in line to take victory in the banked slalom as the current points leader.
Overall rankings by classification and gender will also be decided in Italy alongside the nation rankings.
Competition gets underway in Trentino with snowboard-cross on Wednesday and Thursday (17 March). Banked slalom will then conclude the action on Friday (18 March).
Results will be available online.
Current rankings can be viewed at the IPC Snowboard website.