Swedish, French skiers glide to victory in World Cup skiercross finals{mosimage}Jesper Brugge and Opheile David fought their way to wins in the skiercross World Cup finals Friday in Sauze d’Oulx, Italy.

David won all of her heats to get into the four-skier final on a balanced course all competitors said was great — except for race-day snowfall that slowed the speed on the flat sections.

‘It would have been better if it wasn’t snowing because it was so slow on the flats that you almost wanted to skate’ said David after edging Finnish skier Jenni Kilpinen to claim the season finale.

Canadian Aleisha Cline was third and was the only North American in the women’s field. Clinc said she woke in the morning knowing she wasn’t going to win.

‘I just didn’t have it in me today’ said Cline, who skied on her ski tech’s Volkls after her Salomons were stolen the night before the race. ‘I wasn’t smooth, I wasn’t psyched, I just thought I’d be in the final group.’

Three Swedes made it into the men’s final, but lone Austrian Roman Hofer almost spoiled the party. Hofer had the lead until midway through the run when Brugge shot past him.

With the victory, Brugge bounced ahead of Frenchman Erik Gavaggio to take the World Cup title. Gavaggio finished eighth Friday while Canadian Davey Barr took 22nd.

‘It’s great to win this. My goal this year was to win one World Cup race, I wasn’t dreaming about the overall title’ Brugge said. ‘I got around Hofer and then it was just trying to hang on. The snow made it difficult to see if you weren’t in the front.’

Skiercross will be part of the FIS Freestyle World Championships for the first time next year, and there’s some optimism among the competitors that it could become an Olympic sport by 2010.

Freestyle World Cup Finals
Sauze d’Oulx, Italy
March 12, 2004

Men’s Skiercross
1. Jesper Brugge (Swe), Atomic
2. Roman Hofer (Aut), Atomic
3. Lars Lewen (Swe), Salomon
4. Peter Lind (Swe), Rossignol
5. Simon Bastelica (F), Dynastar
6. Karl Heinz Molling (I), Salomon
7. Tommy Eliasson (Swe), Dynastar
8. Andreas Steffen (Swi), Dynastar

Women’s Skiercross
1. Opheile David (F), Rossignol
2. Jenni Kilpinen (Fin), Salomon
3. Aleisha Cline, (Can), Salomon
4. Emilie Serain (Swi), Rossignol
5. Karin Huttary (Aut), Salomon
6. Valentine Scuotto (F), Dynastar
7. Serraine Murk (Swi), Rossignol
8. Sanne Tidstrand (Swe), Atomic

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