Dominique Maltais leads Canadians at Dew Cup snowboard-cross event

The Canadian Press
Associated Press

TELLURIDE, Colo. - Canadian Dominique Maltais won her second straight Dew Cup event on Friday by narrowly holding off teammate Maelle Ricker in the women's snowboard-cross final.

Maltais, from Petite-Riviere-St-Francois, Que., was the top performer as the Canadian contingent earned three of six medals in the men's and women's snowboard-cross competition.

"I'm going to have a really good Christmas with these two wins," said Maltais, the 2012 FIS Crystal Globe winner who also won the season-opener last week in Austria. "It's a good way to start the season and now I get to spent some time with friends and family the next couple of weeks."

Ricker, from Squamish, B.C., took silver in the women's event, while Calgary's Chris Robanske took third in the men's behind American Seth Wescott and Alex Pullin of Austria.

Maltais said after the race that the back-to-back wins come as a result of a lot of off-season training.

"I put a lot of energy and time into training this summer," said Maltais. "This is the way I wanted to do it, be strong top to bottom and that's what I did."

Maltais and Ricker used their knowledge of each other to hold off all competitors to claim the top two spots on the podium.

"We're pretty much on the same line, I kind of know where she's going to go and she knows where I'm going to go. In the semifinal we had a little tactic," said Maltais. "We were with the French girl who wanted to pass inside left so we made sure we were together, not giving her that space to pass and we finished first and second."

Ricker and Robanske's medals were a dramatic improvement from a week earlier in Austria.

"This proves I am among the best in the world," said Robanske, who was 14th in the season-opening event in Austria. "I'm pretty happy, especially coming off injuries two years in a row.

"This is only my second event back, second World Cup podium. I can't be complaining about that. But there is room for improvement."

Ricker, the 2010 Olympic champion, followed Maltais down the course in the semifinal and then found herself unable to overtake her teammate in the final.

"In the semi I rode with Dom so I just followed her down," said Ricker. "In the final we had fresh snow on the course, it was fast and tricky. I just couldn't reel her in, she was too fast."

Ricker was a disappointing 13th in Austria and determined to improve on that result in Colorado.

"In Austria I was out in the first round, the first time I've done that in five or six years," said the 34-year-old. "So I was glad to turn it around this week, pulled up my socks."