SAINT PAUL, Minnesota – Austria’s Marco Dallago came storming from behind to win the Red Bull Crashed Ice season opener in Saint Paul on Saturday, jumping from fourth place to first in a dramatic finish after the three leaders crashed — to the amazement of an enormous crowd watching the world’s fastest sport on skates on a slick slope leading from the steps of the Saint Paul Cathedral. American Amanda Trunzo triumphed in the women’s race on the course that has become the hotbed of Ice Cross Downhill racing in the United States.
Dallago, the 2014 world champion, became the first European to win a Red Bull Crashed Ice race in nearly four years in a sport dominated since then by Americans and Canadians. American Michael “Iggy” Iulianello survived a crash on the final turn to hold onto second place ahead of Canada’s Scott Croxall, the 2015 world champion, in third. To the delight of the enthusiastic hometown crowd, Cameron Naasz of the United States was leading until late in the high-speed race but the two-time defending Ice Cross Downhill World Champion crashed on a jump near the end of the race and ended up a disappointing fourth.
“I was able to take advantage of a lot of mistakes in front of me,” said Dallago, surprised to learn that he was the last European to win a Red Bull Crashed Ice race with his victory in Quebec City on March 22, 2014.
Naasz seemed to be heading towards his ninth career victory after not only winning but also dominating all four knockout rounds, where the fastest two in four-man heats advance. He got a brilliant start in the final and was well in front of his great nemesis Croxall with the finish line in sight. But he stumbled and crashed hard as Croxall, Iulianello and Dallago zipped past — and the crowd gasped. In an eerily déjà vu finish recalling last year’s incredible final race in Saint Paul when never-say-die Dallago came from fourth to second as two of those in front of him went down, this time he leapfrogged all three in front of him on the final corner.
“When I saw Cameron sliding and thought I might be able to still get third and then Scott went down, and Mike took the corner too tight, and all of a sudden I was first,” said Dallago, who had been far behind in fourth after a crash on the first turn near the start. “Everyone crashed so I was thinking this was déjà vu. A win is always good.”
Trunzo, a hometown favorite in Saint Paul, came out on top in the women’s race after training hard in the off-season in her quest to win the title this year after taking second overall in the 2016/17 season. With a blazing start, Trunzo beat defending champion Jacqueline Legere to the first hairpin turn on the 340-meter ice track and never looked back to win the first of four major Red Bull Crashed Ice races in the 10-race Ice Cross Downhill World Championship. Legere (Canada), who like Naasz is hoping to win a record third straight championship this season, held on for second place while Veronika Windisch (Austria) took third.
“It’s just incredible,” said Trunzo after picking up her second career win. “I’m super excited. I just tried to stay focused and get in front as soon as possible and stay there. And it all worked out.”
Red Bull Crashed Ice results Saint Paul
Men: 1. Marco Dallago (AUT), 2. Michael Iulianello (USA), 3. Scott Croxall (CAN), 4. Cameron Naasz (USA), 5. Paavo Klintrup (FIN), 6. Shayne Renaud (CAN), 7. Steven Cox (CAN), 8. Pacome Schmitt (FRA), 9. Derrek Coccimiglio (CAN), 10. Daniel Bergeson (USA).
Women: 1. Amanda Trunzo (USA), 2. Jacqueline Legere (CAN), 3. Veronika Windisch (AUT), 4. Myriam Trepanier (CAN), 5. Maxie Plante (CAN), 6. Anais Morand (SUI), 7.
Michaela Michaelson (USA), 8 Tamara Kajah (CAN), 9 Elaine Topolnisky (CAN) 10. Junko Yamamoto (JPN)