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The Finals: Kestenholz Crosses Off Competition
Sölden, Austria
November 7, 1998

  • Trials: Shaun Palmer wasn't happy at all

    Saturday was the big day. The best 24 women and 48 men took center stage after two days of time runs, in which the riders went down the course alone.
    Swatch World Boardercross
    [speed's the need]
    The thousands of spectators here couldn't wait for the finals. Now the time had come to race head-to-head in groups of six with riders advancing from one round to the next. The best riders had to compete in several runs without losing their physical strength.

    These were exciting and very spectacular finals with a lot of surprises and slams, but that's BoarderCross.

    "Last year I really had a bad season, but now I'm back!" — Phillipe Conte (FRA), 2nd place

    The big winner in the men's finals was Ueli Kestenholz (SUI), who dominated the field the whole weekend. He won the qualifications, the time trials and the finals — he was invincible. Ueli, who normally sticks to the Alpine disciplines, competed in Sölden just for fun. He didn't expect to win at all.

    Shaun Palmer bites it
    [Palmer down]
    Philippe Conte (FRA) ended up 2nd. "Last year I really had a bad season, but now I'm back! I'm really happy about it!," Conte said. Tor Bruserud (NOR), one of the best BX riders, finished the race 3rd. Favorite Shaun Palmer, who had to qualify for the finals through the loser's round, wasn't happy at all about his fifth place. He explained to the crowd: "I'm an idiot!" and promised "Next time!" So we can be sure that he will show up at next year's event here in Sölden.

    Palmer had bad luck in the finals, including a crash with Drew Neilson (CAN) followed by a slam.

    The winner of the women's competition was also an Alpine rider — Katharina "Ena" Himmler from Germany who secured her victory with an excellent overtaking maneuver in the last turn of the course.

    Swatch World Boardercross
    [hole shot]
    "I'm absolutely happy to win the first event of the season," stated Himmler. The girls from overseas proved their constistency again with a 2nd place of BX Queen Nillard Pilavakis (USA), followed by the only Austrian rider in the finals, Maria Pfurtscheller. Maelle Ricker (CAN), yesterday's time trials winner, dropped back to 4th place in the breathtaking exciting final run.

    Birgit Gruber, Mountain Zone European Correspondent

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