Howden reverts to aggressive style to win third World Cup event

Prince George ski crosser Gairns 15th in Sunday's race in Sweden

IDRE FJÄLL, SWEDEN — Another day, another World Cup ski cross gold medal for Canadian Reece Howden.

The native of Cultus Lake captured a second straight World Cup event Sunday and third of the season. In the women's event, Marielle Thompson of Whistler was third for her fifth podium finish this year.

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After winning Saturday's event by hanging back then coming on at the end, Reece reverted back to his hard-charging style Sunday, He led from start to finish of the big final.

"The draft wasn’t as big of an issue (Sunday)," he said. "I skied as fast as I could today, it worked out.

"I’m so happy this is unbelievable."

Fanny Smith of Switzerland won the women’s race, the 27th of her career, setting the all-time World Cup record. Smith, who won Wednesday’s sprint race and was second on Saturday, crossed the finish just ahead of Alizie Baron of France and Thompson, the defending world champion.

In other results from the women’s race, Courtney Hoffos of Invermere was seventh, Hannah Schmidt of Ottawa was 14th and Tiana Gairns of Prince George was 15th. Gairns, a 23-year-old member of the Prince George Alpine Ski Club, placed a career-best fifth on Saturday.

Other Canadian finishes in the men’s race were as follows: Jared Schmidt of Ottawa was 33rd, Kristofor Mahler of Canmore was 36th, Brady Leman of Calgary was 40th, Chris Del Bosco of Montreal was 48th and Carson Cook of Edmonton was 53rd.

Howden is on quite roll, having won three of the last four World Cup races.

"Third time is the charm," he said. "I’ll keep trying my best.

"I’m super proud of these last few races, so I’ll try to carry it through the rest of the season, stay safe, stay injury-free, and keep it going."

Thompson was pleased to have secured third place despite poor visibility on the lower part of the track.

"I’m a lot happier with how I skied (Sunday)," she said. "I think I brought some good skiing to each heat and I’m happy to land on the podium."

- with files from The Citizen


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