Samkova and Vaultier claim SBX World Cup title in thrilling showdown
2014 Olympic champions Eva Samkova (CZE) and Pierre Vaultier (FRA) have claimed the 2016-17 season's SBX World Cup title after holding their main rivals for the Crystal Globe at bay in the tour's ultimate race's finals which were staged in perfect conditions on the high speed course of Veysonnaz, Switzerland yesterday.
Samkova finished in second position behind of Charlotte Bankes (FRA) who earned her career's second win since La Molina 2015 with her main pursuer in the race for the Globe Michela Moioli (ITA) rounding out the podium as third.
As finishing in fourth position at least would have guaranteed the Czech racer her first ever Crystal Globe, Samkova finally took the title with 5,170 points ahead of Moioli (4,490) and Belle Brockhoff (AUS; 4,060) who had missed the last race of the season due to an ACL surgery.
The UK's Zoe Gillings-Brier finished in 15th place.
In the men's event, Vaultier and so far World Cup ranking leader Omar Visintin (ITA) – only separated by 20 points before going into the season's showdown – met each other in the final heat which turned out to be as exciting as it could get.
Vaultier, with the momentum of two consecutive wins to his side, won the hole shot on the steep start section with Visintin trying everything he could to catch the French racer in front of him being handicapped by a bad start gate choice due to his qualifier results.
In the end, the South Tyrolean athlete did risk too much in the middle roller section, overshooting the landing while taking out Kevin Hill (CAN) and best qualifier Lucas Eguibar (ESP), too.
Following the unsuccessful all-or-nothing manoeuvre of his competitor, Vaultier brought home his career's 20th ahead of Alex Deibold (USA) and Alex Pullin (AUS) therefore also securing his fifth SBX World Cup title (4,450) with Visintin (3,920) and Alessandro Haemmerle (AUT; 3,404.60) wrapping up the season as respective second and third overall.