Padova GP podium- Martin Siegrist, Patrick Switzer and Stefan Ruefli. Photo Marcus Rietema
Padova, Italy- Martin Siegrist (SUI) survived a crash filled afternoon to win the Padova Grand Prix. Siegrist won by taking the lead early in each of his heats and riding out front fast and precisely to stay out of the chaos that was occurring behind him all day.
James Kelly's weekend started off with a bang but fizzled in the race. Photo Marcus Rietema
The day was filled with crashes on nearly every run as the skaters were pushing the limit and doing all they could to find more speed. Harald Bacic (NOR) was an early casualty when he crashed in the second heat of the first round while trying to avoid another rider that had fallen in front of him. Bacic suffered a fracture to his lower leg. James Kelly (USA) led qualifying on Friday and had been running very fast all weekend. He suffered a high-speed crash in the morning warm up that seemed to rattle his confidence. He slid out in his second round heat and was eliminated after being beaten to the line by Stefan Ruefli (USA) and Jackson Shapiera (AUS).
As the heats went on it was a race of attrition leaving only those who were able to stay out front and ride clean or those who were able to get back underway in a quick manner after crashing.
Patrick Switzer earned his first ever World Cup Podium. Photo Marcus Rietema
In Semi-Final #1 it was Siegrist, Scoot Smith (CAN), Patrick Switzer (CAN), and Mischo Erban (CAN). Siegrist took the early lead followed by Erban, Smith, and Switzer. Heading into the fast left and right hairpin Erban crashed moving Smith to second and Switzer third. A few corners later Scoot slid wide and tagged the bales. This allowed Switzer to move into second. Siegrist and Switzer finished first and second to move into the final.
Erik Lundberg already has two final round appearences in 2009. Photo Bob Ozman
Semi-Final #2 included Erik Lundberg (SWE), Ramon Konigshausen (SUI), Peyragudes winner Louis Pilloni (USA), and Stefan Ruefli (SUI). All four riders pushed really hard off the line. As they came into the fast left, right hairpin Lundberg, Konigshausen and Pilloni were all in tight pack. Ruefli was trailing slightly behind. The combination of regular and goofy footers, different braking techniques, the narrow track and aggressive riding, were a recipe for disaster.
Stefan Ruefli had a great weekend finishing third. Photo Marcus Rietema
Lundberg, Konigshausen and Pilloni all piled into the bales together. Ruefli went sailing by and rode unchallenged into the final. There was a mad scramble in his wake as the other three knew they were all racing for second and a spot in the final. Pilloni mad it out front first with Lundberg in hot pursuit. Lundberg got a good run coming off the last hairpin and used the extra speed to draft by Pilloni down the final straightaway and into the coveted second place.
The finalists were all stoked! Photo Marcus Rietema
The final was set with Siegrist, Switzer, Ruefli and Lundberg. Amazingly, the final was one of the few clean runs of the day. Siegrist went to the front and never looked back till the finish. Switzer rode cleanly into second while Ruefli and Lundberg had a good battle all the way with Ruefli coming out on top to earn the final podium spot.
Scoot won the Consolation Final to finish fifth. Photo Bob Ozman
Spectators at the bottom were able to watch all the action from top to bottom on a jumbotron and were going crazy with all the action. The race featured all sorts of entertainment each night and an amazing level of infrastructure. Plans are already being finalized for the IGSA World Cup Series to return to Teolo in 2010.
Add a Comment