QUEBEC CITY – Sports – In Red Bull Crashed Ice action, Derek Wedge of Switzerland won the 2012/13 Ice Cross Downhill World Championship in a thrilling finish on Saturday to the biggest season in the history of Red Bull Crashed Ice in front of 100,000 spectators watching in Quebec City’s historic Old Town. Wedge crashed three times in a nerve-wracking final on the longest and toughest track ever but he bounced back and clawed his way to the finish, sprinting to third place and snatching the title away from Canada’s Kyle Croxall. Croxall ended up fourth. Finland’s Arttu Pihlanen won his fifth straight Quebec City race, ending his brilliant Ice Cross Downhill career on a high note after a injury-plagued season.
Red Bull Crashed Ice Action
Wedge, an Alpine free spirit and freestyle ski instructor, came into the finale in Quebec City in third place overall – some 395 points behind the championship leader Cameron Naasz of the United States and 68.6 points behind Croxall. But Naasz was knocked out in the round of 32 and finished with 2,585 points to fall to third place overall. Croxall and Wedge advanced through tension-packed quarter- and semi-final rounds to their head-to-head showdown for the championship in the final. Wedge, 30, got off to a slow start out of the gates and then crashed three times but dazzled the crowd on a frosty night in Canada with his indomitable style. He rallied under pressure down the 594-meter track filled with jumps, bumps and a tortuous corkscrew turn as it descended 60 meters through the old town to the banks of the ice filled St. Lawrence River. Wedge ended the five-race season with 2,650 points to 2,618.6 points for Kyle Croxall.
“There was so much action in the final, it was really crazy,” said an ecstatic Wedge, who only joined the Ice Cross Downhill world tour last year and yet was strong enough to win this season’s third race in Landgraaf, Netherlands. “I remember seeing Kyle on my left and then Scott (Croxall) on my right and then seeing the wall again. I’ve always dreamed of becoming a world champion. Now I’ve done it,” he added with a big smile after defeating three of the sport’s most celebrated aces for the title on a track where the athletes hit speeds of up to 60 km/h: Pihlanen, who won the 2011 title and seven career races, as well as the 2012 world champion Kyle Croxall, and Scott Croxall, who once again failed to win a race despite posting the fastest qualifying time on Friday. Scott Croxall took second in the race.
The 2012/13 season had five stops and was the biggest in the sport’s history. There were four winners in the five races: Kyle Croxall won the first two races in Niagara Falls, Canada and then in Saint Paul, USA before Wedge’s victory in the Netherlands and Naasz took first place in the penultimate race two weeks ago in Lausanne, Switzerland.
In the women’s championship race, Canada’s Dominique Thibault took first place ahead of Salla Kyhala of Finland in second and last year’s title winner, Fannie Desforges of Canada in third.
Quebec City Results : 1. Arttu Pihlainen (FIN), 2. Scott Croxall (CAN), 3. Derek Wedge (SUI), 4. Kyle Croxall (CAN), 5. Miikka Jouhkinmainen (FIN), 6. Adam Horst (CAN), 7. Jim De Paoli (SUI), 8. Martin Niefnecker (GER), 9. Marco Dallago (AUT), 10. Tristan Dugerdil (FRA)