Winter Sports

Canadian Tafel earns World Cup win in men's ski cross

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The Canadian Press
2/25/2012 1:13:33 PM
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BISCHOFSWIESEN, Germany -- Canada's Tristan Tafel secured his first career ski cross World Cup podium Saturday with a dramatic victory.

Teammate Chris Del Bosco stayed in the hunt for the Crystal Globe as the overall winner with a third-place finish.

The 21-year-old Tafel, who survived a wild semifinal that involved a competitor missing a gate, led from start to finish in the final ahead of John Teller of the United States.

"I'm still in shock," said Tafel, who turns 22 on Sunday. "I was really happy with my starts but in the final I just kept thinking, 'I'm going to get some contact at this turn or this jump,' and it never happened. As I turned the corner going into the finish I was like, 'Holy cow, I'm in the lead and I might just win my first World Cup."'

Tafel is in his first full year on the ski cross World Cup circuit after capturing the Nor-Am Cup title last season. His previous best World Cup finish was ninth in Italy in December.

The Canmore, Alta., native spent 15 years in alpine racing before switching to ski cross after watching the sport in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

He didn't expect success to come this quickly.

"I didn't even think about it as a final," Tafel said on a conference call of his final run. "I just looked at it as my first run. I have been taking it one run at a time and seeing what I can do with where I am when I'm racing.

"I was surprised when I came across the finish line and couldn't believe it."

Del Bosco, from Montreal, had to fight to secure his third podium of the season.

"It was a pretty good battle out there. The course was pretty chewed up," said Del Bosco, the X Games gold medallist and reigning ski cross world champion. "With all those guys going out I knew I just had to have a smart race."

Brady Leman of Calgary still leads the ski cross World Cup standings with 343 points, while Switzerland's Alex Fiva is second (332) and Del Bosco is third (314).

Tafel is 12th in the overall standings.

Andrea Limbacher of Austria claimed her first World Cup victory in the women's event. She finished ahead of Ophelie David of France in the final to move to fourth in the overall standings.

David, who was making her comeback from injury after missing several races, moved to second. David is 49 points behind Sanna Luedi, who is injured and did not compete.

Alizee Baron of France was third.

Tristan Tafel (Photo: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
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