Switzerland’s Derek Wedge won a thrilling Red Bull Crashed Ice race in the Netherlands on Saturday with a brilliant come-from-behind victory in a spill-filled final as Austria’s Marco Dallago finished second and local hero Bart van Roosmalen took third. Kyle Croxall of Canada held onto a shrinking lead in the World Championship battle despite failing to even qualify for the finals on the indoor sprint track, finishing a dismal 73rd place.Racing on the world’s first permanent indoor track in SnowWorld in Landgraaf, Wedge got the first victory of his career after prevailing in an amazing final down the high-speed track that dropped a breathtaking 70 meters over just 340 meters – the shortest, fastest track in the 13-year-history of Red Bull Crashed Ice. Wedge moved ahead of American Cameroon Naasz into second place in the standings with two races left in the five-race World Championship ahead of the next race in Lausanne, Switzerland on March 2.Wedge, a freestyle ski instructor who was born as a U.S. citizen in Boston before moving to Switzerland, stormed back from fourth place in one of the most riveting finals ever, first overtaking Paavo Klintrup when the Finn stumbled. Wedge then got in front of Van Roosmalen into second place when the flying Dutchman tripped on a tricky turn halfway down the track.Dallago seemed to have the race in the bag but then fell at high speed just three corners before the finish. With Wedge closing in from behind, Dallago quickly bounced back on his feet as the big Dutch crowd went berserk but was just beaten by Wedge. “This was a really crazy race,” said Wedge. “I thought I was going to be second and then couldn’t believe it when I ended up first.” Dellago couldn’t believe he had fallen so late either: “I was giving everything I had and maybe it was just a bit too much. I tried to jump over some waves in the ice and just toe-picked it and went down.”
Derek Wedge of Switzerland celebrates with Marco Dallago of Austria and Bart van Roosmalen of the Netherlands in Snowworld after the Finals for the Red Bull Crashed Ice, the Ice Cross Downhill World Championship 2013, in Landgraaf, the Netherlands on February 9, 2013. // Jörg Mitter
It was a bleak weekend for the usually powerful Canadians, who struggled on the fast course and failed to get an athlete on the podium for the first time since the World Championship was launched in 2010. It was also the first time in 13 World Championship races that the podium was an all-European affair and it was also the first podium for Wedge, Dallago and Van Roosmalen.
Results: 1. Derek Wedge (SUI), 2. Marco Dallago (AUT), 3. Bart van Roosmalen (NED), 4. Paavo Klintrup (FIN), 5. Fabian Mels (GER), 6. Miikka Jouhkinmainen (FIN), 7. Khariton Vlasov (RUS), 8. Janis Lutholf (SUI), 9. Luca Dallago (AUT), 10. Manuel Mehli (SUI)
World Championship Standings: 1. Kyle Croxall (CAN) 2008.6 points, 2. Wedge 1760, 3. Cameron Naasz (USA) 1445, 4. Marco Dallago (AUT) 1380, 5. Klintrup 1270, 6. Jouhkinmainen 980, 7. Kilian Braun (SUI) 848, 8. Scott Croxall (CAN) 841.6, 9. Jim de Paoli (SUI) 780, 10. Kim Muller (SUI) 778.8
Derek Wedge of Switzerland celebrates his victory in Snowworld after the Finals for the Red Bull Crashed Ice, the Ice Cross Downhill World Championship 2013, in Landgraaf, the Netherlands on February 9, 2013. // Jörg Mitter