Vaultier, Samkova win snowboardcross World Cup in Russia
MIASS, Russia (AP) Two years after both won gold at the Sochi Olympics, France's Pierre Vaultier and Eva Samkova of the Czech Republic enjoyed more success in Russia on Sunday with victories in a round of the snowboardcross World Cup.
Vaultier took his second consecutive win after victory in Feldberg last month, winning the big final from fast-finishing Canadian Christopher Robanske and Spain's Lucas Eguibar, who had qualified fastest Saturday.
That puts Vaultier into the overall standings lead, 480 points ahead of previous leader Nikolai Olyunin of Russia, who failed to make it past Sunday's quarterfinals following a fall. Alessandro Haemmerle of Austria, who had been third in the standings before Sunday's round, also failed to reach the semifinals.
Samkova dominated all weekend in the women's event at the Sunny Valley resort, qualifying fastest on Saturday then taking the win Sunday ahead of Belle Brockhoff of Australia, with third place going to Italy's Michela Moioli.
For Samkova, it was her second win of the season and fifth career World Cup victory.
France's defending champion Nelly Moenne Loccoz retains the standings lead despite finishing only 12th but her lead has been sharply reduced from the 700-point advantage she enjoyed prior to Sunday's races. Samkova is now second, 160 points behind Moenne Loccoz.
Most of the U.S. team opted to skip the event in Russia.
Four more World Cup rounds remain, beginning with 2018 Winter Olympics host nation South Korea next week.