Skiing

Simmerling third in skicross World Cup race, Thompson leads

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The Canadian Press
3/16/2014 4:08:22 PM
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ARE, Sweden - Olympic champion Marielle Thompson's pursuit of a second skicross World Cup title will go down to the wire.

Thompson, of Whistler, B.C., was fourth in Sunday's race while rival Fanny Smith of Switzerland finished first, cutting Thompson's lead in the overall standings to just five points with only next weekend's World Cup finals in France left to go.

Ophelie David of France was second while Vancouver's Georgia Simmerling was third.

"The overall is pretty exciting — for both the women and the men," said Thompson, who has 655 points compared to Smith's 650. "In the final, I was leading into the first turn and then Ophelie passed me and I got pushed into the powder and lost all my speed. That's how she goes sometimes."

Simmerling won her first heat Sunday and was second in her quarter- and semifinals to advance to the big final.

"It was good today. I had to fight hard and it all came together," Simmerling said. "I messed up my timing on one of the features at the end of the start and I was fourth. Then Marielle (fell back) and the three of us just ended up 1-2-3.

"I've had a pretty consistent year, I would say. There's one more race to go and I'm hoping for a strong result again."

Danie Sundquist, of Calgary was third in her first heat and finished 20th overall. Olympic silver medallist Kelsey Serwa, of Kelowna, B.C., did not participate as she took the post-Olympic season off.

On the men's side, Austria's Thomas Zangerl finished first while teammate Andreas Matt was second. Armin Niederer of Switzerland picked up the bronze.

Mathieu Leduc of Comox, B.C., was the top Canadian, finishing eighth.

"It was definitely nice to see I can compete with the top guys," Leduc said. "I'm just hoping to establish myself on the World Cup and put my name in there.

"I'm learning from my mistakes and trying to bank all my experiences and put them to good use."

Calgary's Brady Leman and Montreal's Chris Del Bosco did not advance past their first heats. Louis-Pierre Helie, of Berthierville, Que., did not finish his qualification run, while Tristan Tafel, of Canmore, Alta., did not qualify for the round of 32 heats.

Canada sits second (1,898) behind Switzerland (2,124) in the ski cross Nations' Cup standings with one race to go.

Marielle Thompson (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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