Cabral edges Olympic champ with nearly flawless run
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. — South Lake Tahoe teenager Travis Cabral laid down a nearly flawless final run Saturday despite zero-degree weather, winning his second World Cup moguls event of the season and edging Olympic champion Janne Lahtela by nearly a full point.
Cabral, 19, moved up from fifth place in the World Cup standings with a dynamic run that earned 26.79 points to 25.80 for Lahtela, the 1999 world champ and 2000 World Cup moguls champion.
“There was nothing to lose here. I made it into finals and I just wanted to ski a clean run,” Cabral said. “I’m doing pretty well, I guess.”
Aiko Uemura of Japan won the women’s event for her first World Cup victory, edging Sandra Laoura of France by one-hundredth of a point.
When the athletes got up before dawn, it was 32 degrees below zero at the U.S. Olympic Training Center, where most of the World Cup athletes stay.
“I felt right at home; this is like Finland and I was comfortable,” Lahtela said.
“It definitely wasn’t California,” Cabral said.
But the temperature warmed to near zero for the final run, and Cabral said the athletes were peeling off layers of warm clothes so they weren’t handcuffed as they skied.
Travis Mayer, from Steamboat Springs, Colo., finished 14th in the men’s race with a conservative run. Jeremy Bloom, from Loveland, Colo., had a disappointing run after two top-five finishes since returning to the World Cup tour to finish 44th.
With the points list including best four of six events, Shannon Bahrke, of Tahoe City, Calif., retained her lead in the women’s tally despite finishing 12th, while Mayer has the same points as Rousseau but gave up the yellow leader’s bib to the Canadian on a tiebreaker formula.
Friday night at the U.S. Olympic Training Center where the athletes stay, Cabral met with Coaches Donnie St. Pierre and Liz McIntyre.
“We decided first run I was gonna keep it simple — double-twister spread instead of cross-spread, heli-X spread, just to make it in. And then in finals train heli-X spread and see where it goes. I did a few good jumps and decided to throw it in the finals,” Cabral said.
He hit a heli-X off the top airs and the heli-X spread off the second jump. “The only guy who skied really well today was Travis,” Lahtela told a press conference.
Cabral will head back to South Lake Tahoe for a brief respite before heading to the FIS Freestyle World Championship in Deer Valley, Utah, the 2002 Olympic mogul venue, Jan. 28 through Feb. 1.
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