A host of Paralympic and world champions will be in action in Landgraaf, the Netherlands, on Wednesday (15 November) at the season’s second World Para Snowboard World Cup.
Around 100 athletes from 20 nations are ready to hit the slopes following September’s opener in Treble Cone, New Zealand.
Dutch teenage sensation Chris Vos will make his 2017-18 World Cup debut on home snow. The 19-year-old is coming off an outstanding 2016/2017 season that saw him defend his banked slalom and snowboard-cross SB-LL1 world titles in Big White, Canada. He will hope to pick up from where he left off after winning both events at March’s PyeongChang 2018 Test Events.
His biggest competition is expected to come from Mike Schultz. The US snowboarder is gearing up for his Paralympic debut at PyeongChang 2018 and showed plenty of promise at Big White 2017, where he captured his first Worlds medal with silver behind Vos in the banked slalom.
The women’s SB-LL2 will feature Dutch rider Lisa Bunschoten riding on familiar snow. The 21-year-old is a podium regular and emphasised that she is a PyeongChang 2018 gold-medal contender after leaving with double-silver from the 2017 World Championships.
With two competitions already under her belt from Treble Cone, Australia’s double world silver medallist Joany Badenhorst is expected to challenge her Dutch rival for top spot.
Landgraaf will also pit the top women’s SB-LL1 riders together in the form of the USA’s reigning world champion Brenna Huckaby and France’s Cecile Hernandez-Cervellon. Hernandez-Cervellon twice finished behind Huckaby at Big White 2017. But this week’s World Cup will be an opportunity for both to size each other up with less than four months until the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games.
Another USA-France match-up can be found in the men’s SB-UL category. Maxime Montaggioni served Mike Minor his first loss of the 2016-17 season in Big White. The French world champion will aim to prove that his victory was no fluke while US snowboarder Minor will look to build on the overall World Cup crystal globe he took home last season.
The men’s SB-LL2 will be one of the most competitive races in Landgraaf with Finland’s world champion Matti Suur-Hamari the one to chase. However, Japan’s Gurimu Narita is coming off a breakthrough season with banked slalom bronze in Big White, just behind Great Britain’s Owen Pick. Sochi 2014 Paralympic champion Evan Strong was knocked off the banked slalom podium at the 2017 Worlds, as well as at the last World Cup in New Zealand. But the US rider will look to get his form back ahead of PyeongChang 2018.
The World Cup in Landgraaf will feature only banked slalom races from 15-16 November, following up from the Europa Cup held Tuesday (14 November). Complete and live results will be available at World Para Snowboard's website.