Freeride World Tour 2014: Sammy Luebke and Loïc Collomb-Patton triumph in Courmayeur
The first competition of the most world's important freeride circuit, the prestigious Swatch Freeride World Tour by The North Face 2014 got off to a splendid start today. America's Sammy Luebke won the snowboarding event, while France's Loïc Collomb-Patton left all other skiers in his wake.
The Sunny Side of Mont Blanc lived up to expectations this morning. In brilliant sunshine and postcard blue skies the best riders in the world finally put on a superb show after the competition had been suspended last Friday due to bad weather. At 9:30am 13 snowboarders and 32 skiers set off from Cresta d'Arp in the Courmayeur Mont Blanc Ski resort towards Youla, leaving tracks all the way down to Plan de la Gabba. Spectators and fans watched the events unfold from the village located at the top of the Plan de la Gabba chairlift.
"Things went a lot better that I expected, the snow was perfect, I managed to score a few good jumps and I also managed to ski a good line" said twenty-four American Sammy Luebke after his win. He was the last out of the gates and his excellent performance (80.50 points) ousted Britain's Sascha Hamm (72.75) who had victory in his sights. Third place went to France's Ludovic Guillot - Diat (70.25).
In the ski event fortune didn't favour the Italians; 23-year-old Markus Eder from Brunico who had won here in 2013 and 25-year-old wild card promise David Cusini from Livigno. Eder set off third but fell shortly after the start and subsequently abandoned the competition. He next big opportunity will be at the Sochi Winter Olympics where he will represent Italy. During his FWT debut Cusini fell half-way and had to make do with a low score (43.50).
France's Loic Collomb - Patton convinced the jury with a superlative competition run. The skier from La Clusaz placed the bar high and no one was able to even get close to his score of 88.50 apart from the America's Josh Daiek 87.50. Swissman Jérémie Heitz, who finished second behind Eder in Courmayeur in 2013, placed third this year with 82.25 points. "This was my FWT debut" Loïc excitedly told the reporters "I chose my line yesterday, and I followed it precisely. Having started early I feared that one of the many other athletes would beat me, and only at the very end did I manage to breathe a sigh of relief. Yeah, I'm really happy."