CHONGLI, China, November 27 (Xinhua) – Russian Sergey Ridzik came out as the dark horse winner in the men’s race while Sandra Naeslund from Sweden topped the dam podium as the FIS Ski Cross World Cup, also a Beijing 2022 test event that ended here on Saturday.
Ridzik, ranked only 47th in the world and after reaching Saturday’s finals in 24th place in qualifying, defeated Brady Leman and Bastien Midol to lift the men’s trophy.
The Russian started Saturday’s competitions well and broke through from his group in the last 16 rounds, the quarterfinals and the semifinals, all with first place.
The men’s final saw Ridzik take the lead to reach the first record point after the start, but was overtaken by the Frenchman Midol in the middle of the race. Leman, who finished second, was in third place most of the time.
Dramatic change occurred in the sprint phase. Midol landed with a slight stumble after a jump point and was overtaken by Rizick, while Leman barely squeezed into second place by leaning forward before hitting the line.
“This course is fantastic and the competition is great, now I am a champion and I am also an Olympian, I wish I would be on the podium here again next February,” said Ridzik.
World number 1 Reece Howden suffered an early elimination in the last eight.
Not like the men’s race, the ladies’ top-ranked skier Naeslund had advanced all the way as the top finisher. She also made her way comfortably through the quarterfinals and semifinals on Saturday.
The women’s final saw Naeslund take the lead directly from the start phase, while Fanny Smith fell to fourth in the second record point but eventually finished second. Marielle Berger Sabbatel got the third.