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Skiercross: Rahlves takes fifth at his first race of the season

American Daron Rahlves finished fifth at a World Cup skiercross competition today in Lake Placid, NY. The former U.S. alpine great and last year’s X Games gold medalist just missed the final heat but ended his day wining the small final. Today’s race was his first of the season.American Daron Rahlves finished fifth at a World Cup skiercross competition today in Lake Placid, NY. The former U.S. alpine great and last year’s X Games gold medalist just missed the final heat but ended his day wining the B final.

“Today was crazy. It was fight the whole way,” said Rahlves. “I would have liked to make the finals but this was a solid result.”

Opting to sit out the first European swing of the World Cup Tour to prepare for the X Games, today’s race was Rahlves first of the season. “This was a good way for me to get tuned up for next week. It was a good wake up call,” he said.

Sweden’s Lars Lewen won the event followed by Patrick Koller in second and Tomas Kraus of the Czech Republic in third.

The U.S. Team’s skiercross veteran Casey Puckett reeled in yet another top-20 result in 14th.

The results of today’s Nature Valley Freestyle Cup, the fourth World Cup skiercross race of the year, put Krause in the lead of the overall points followed by Austria’s Andreas Matt in second, Lewen in third and Puckett in fourth.

After dealing with hard and short European World Cup courses, Puckett and coach Tyler Shepherd were anxious to get to Whiteface Mountain following the success experienced there by the snowboardcross athletes. “It was a lot more flowy. All the athletes hit the landings where they were supposed to and there were nice big banks you could double and suck up,” Shepherd said.Today’s event marked the second time a World Cup skiercross race has taken place in the United States and the first time on the east coast.

X Games champ, French Ophelie David won the women’s race. She was joined on the podium by teammate Meryl Boulangeat who finished third. Australian Jenny Owens took second.

The only woman to score points for the U.S. was Langley McNeal in 27th. “Margie Thorp got to ski one heat with Ophelie David, the best woman on tour, and that was really good for her. It’s important for them to be in that kind of situation and get some experience,” Shepherd said.

The skiercross folks will now head to Aspen for ESPN’s Winter X Games starting Thursday.      

NBC will broadcast today’s skiercross competition Sunday, Jan. 25 at 1:30 p.m. ET.

For a complete schedule of X Games events click here.

OFFICIAL RESULTS
2009 NATURE VALLEY FREESTYLE WORLD CUP
Lake Placid, NY – Jan. 19, 2009
Ski Cross

Men’s
1. Lars Lewen, Sweden
2. Patrick Koller, Austria
3. Tomas Kraus, Czech Republic
4. Thomas Zangerl, Austria
5. Daron Rahlves, Sugar Bowl, CA
-
14. Casey Puckett, Aspen, CO
32. Jake Fiala, Frisco, CO

Women’s
1. Ophelie David, France
2. Jenny Owens, Australia
3. Meryl Boulangeat, France
4. Julia Murray, Canada
5. Magdalena Iljans, Sweden
-
27. Langely McNeal, Ketchum, ID
30. Kate Bragg, Park City, UT
31. Christine Cordeau, Ketchum, ID
32. Margie Thorp, Highlands Ranch, CO


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