Whistler WC Snowboarder Cross
Hard on the heels of Lesley McKenna's inspirational victory in the first World Cup half pipe event of the season last Friday in Sweden, Zoe Gillings (18, Isle of Man) again underlined her promise on the new Olympic snowboard discipline of Boardercross with an impressive fourth place in her first World Cup of the season yesterday in Whistler, Canada.
Competing in a capacity field of 44 women at only her third World Cup, Gillings qualified second in both of her preliminary rounds. Identifying a faster, more aggressive line through the top section of the course, she was second all the way through both of the qualifying runs.
In the final she used the same tactic and looked set for a second when she was badly impeded near the finish. She fell momentarily, but recovered in time to scramble across the line in fourth.
" This is really just what we are looking for at this time in the season and it really proves a return on all of our hard work through the summer. Zoe has worked incredibly hard for this. We kind of knew that she should be up there, capable of a top three or four, and really could easily have had second, but hey! it's a great result." recalls Craig Smith, coach of the British Snowboard Development team. "This was a great field, with all the top girls here. With Boardercross accepted as an Olympic discipline it now means that all the countries have their full quotas of places used."
"Last season I was delighted just to qualify. But today I felt that all the training I've been doing since the summer meant that not only was I keeping up but I was actually passing some of the world's best riders!" remarked Gillings.
Zoe's summer training regime has almost certainly been tougher than many of the world's top riders. She has spend all summer on snow in Tignes and in les Deux Alpes, France. " Zoe spent most of September and November in the gym and by October had upped her training to five days on snow with one day off, so she really has put her everything into this and it is paying off."
Results: Nokia FIS Snowboard World Cup, Whistler, Canada, Women's Snowboardcross: 1 K Ruby (France) 1000pts, 2 J Frino (Ita) 800pts, 3 M Laissus (Fra) 600pts, 4 Z Gillings (GBR) 500pts.