After two weeks of the FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup action in Finland and Sweden, the moguls tour was back in business on Friday in France for its third straight weekend of competitions. Jakara Anthony (FRA) and Ikuma Horishima (JPN) took victories in the moguls event to open an exciting weekend of back-to-back competitions on the brand new World Cup venue in Alpe d’Huez.
It was another picture-perfect day in Alpe d’Huez with blue skies and mild temperatures giving an impression that the season’s third moguls competition were going down sometimes in the spring months and not in the middle of December. The optimal snow conditions and an exciting course made for a perfect backdrop for what turned out to be a thrilling showcase of world’s best mogul skiing.
In the women’s competition it was Australia’s Jakara Anthony, who stormed to victory after coming on top in each of Friday’s competition rounds and finishing with a final score of 85.97 points for her third and final attempt. Anthony left no doubt on, who was the best female athlete on the day, outscoring the rest of the field by a solid margin in both turn and well as air scores.
After finishing in top-3 in each of the previous competitions Anthony finally snagged her first World Cup win of the season (and her first win in almost three years), while also increasing her lead in moguls as well as overall moguls World Cup ranking.
Second place on the day went to Anri Kawamura (JPN) for her second podium of the season, while Tess Johnson (USA) rounded out the women’s podium in third place for her first top-3 finish since last year’s Deer Valley event.
Despite contending for a spot on the podium on Friday, local fans’ favourite Perrine Laffont had a nasty-looking crash in the middle section of the course. Fortunately the reining World Cup champion didn’t hurt herself and she will be looking to redeem herself in Saturday’s dual moguls.
It was also an interesting contest over on the men’s side, where the Japanese team almost swept the podium with Ikuma Horishima, Daichi Hara and Kosuke Sugimoto all sitting in respective first, second and third place, with only one rider left in the big final.
And that rider was Mikael Kingsbury, who stormed through the course to set the fastest time in the finals, coming to the finish line in less than 20 seconds and over two seconds faster than the rest of the pack.
Kingsbury sent it massively off the bottom air and landed a little bit back-seated, which was reflected in the judges’ score who would put him in the third place at the end of the day, thus spoiling the Japanese podium sweep party.
With Kingsbury in third, Horishima consequently clinched his second victory of the season, while Daichi Hara made a spectacular come back on the World Cup podium, for his first top-3 since his double bronze medal performance at Utah 2019 World Championships in Deer Valley.
In the moguls World Cup ranking Horishima keeps leading the field with 260 points after three competitions, with Mikael Kingsbury and Pavel Kolamkov (KAZ) following in second and third place, respectively with 192 and 157 points.
The FIS Freestyle World Cup action in Alpe d’Huez continues tomorrow with dual moguls event. With women’s qualifications carried out already on Thursday, Saturday’s competition will get on going with men’s qualifiers at 10:30 CET. The finals are scheduled to go down at 14:00 CET.
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