Rahlves tunes up for Olympics by taking fourth at Lake Placid
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. – It was a great Olympic sendoff for Truckee’s Daron Rahlves as the X Games gold medalist finished fourth Sunday in the Nature Valley Freestyle Cup, the last ski cross World Cup before the 2010 Games.
“It was nice to make the final. I had some good heats. It was a great track with a lot of good opportunity,” Rahlves said.
Rahlves took the lead and finished first in the semifinal run, which he said was a boost to him heading in to the last round.
“For most of the day I got in a good position to make good moves,” Rahlves said. “It gave me confidence in the semifinal to get that draft in the straightaway and keep the rhythm on the terrain.”
According to Rahlves, while he was happy with the finish, a better gate choice in the final could have landed him on the podium.
“Unfortunately in the final I was in the last gate choice on the end and there was a little bit of a kicker and I lost a little bit of ground out of the start,” Rahlves said. “In the first turn I had some line taken away and was on the outside. I got trapped. I went down on my hand, but in the first and second turn you have to keep up your speed. I lost ground there.”
But, in all, Rahlves was satisfied with the day, and hopefully some reflection on the races he can better himself in Vancouver.
“It’s great being in the final but fourth place is not a great place to be. But I didn’t crash and there was some good racing today,” Rahlves said. “In retrospect, I could have slowed down a little bit, taken an inside line and paced it a little more.”
Canadian Chris Delbosco won, followed by Andreas Matt of Austria in second and David Duncan of Canada in third.
In the women’s race Kelsey Serwa of Canada took the win, followed in second by Fanny Smith of Canada and Ophellie David of France in third.
It was a hot finish for Langely McNeal (Ketchum, Idaho) who landed in 16th to mark her career best ski cross World Cup finish.
According to U.S. skicross head coach Tyler Shepherd, McNeal made some good moves in the first round, but a slow start n the second round held her back.
“She was behind out of the start but stayed focused. She went for the pass on the turn in bank two and almost made it, but just got back in the draft like a lot of people did and made it to the second round,” Shepherd said. “But with a slower start in the second heat she didn’t make it.”
The skiercross athletes now break from competition before the Olympics. The 2010 Olympic Freestyle Team will be announced Tuesday at Deer Valley Resort in Utah.
2010 Nature Valley Freestyle Cup
At Lake Placid, N.Y.
Jan. 24 skiercross results
1. Chris Delbosco, Canada
2. Andreas Matt, Austria
3. David Duncan, Canada
4. Daron Rahlves, Sugar Bowl
5. Michael Schmid, Switzerland
20. John Teller, Mammoth Lakes
52. Patrick Duran, Fayson, Vt.
56. Cody Smith, Spokane, Wash.
57. Scott Horn, Truckee
58. Victor Beckmann, Portland, Ore.
1. Kelsey Serwa, Canada
2. Fanny Smith, Switzerland
3. Ophellie David, France
4. Ashleigh McIvor, Canada
5. Karin Huttary, Austria
16. Langely McNeal, Ketchum, Idaho
21. Caitlin Ciccone, Littleton, NH
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