Maltais takes bronze in snowboard cross at worlds

Canada's Dominique Maltais picked up the bronze medal in women's snowboard cross at the world championships in La Molina, Spain, on Tuesday. American Lindsey Jacobellis won the event, while Australia's Alex Pullin clinched the men's gold.

Dominique Maltais battled from the back of the pack to win a world championship bronze medal in snowboard cross Tuesday.

The 30-year-old from Petite-Riviere Saint-Francois, Que., was slow out of the start gate in the big final. When she caught up to the three other finalists, Maltais kept her concentration when Canadian teammate Maelle Ricker crashed into the safety netting on the side of the course.

"I was a little bit behind," Maltais said during a conference call. "I caught them in the middle of the course. Suddenly I saw someone crashing in the net. I just kept going and realized at the end it was unfortunately Maelle.

"It would have been nice to win two medals for Canada."

American Lindsey Jacobellis captured her third world title. Maltais gave chase for a silver medal, but Nelly Moenne of France hung on for second.

Ricker, the Olympic champion in the event, was running second behind Jacobellis when she crashed exiting a steep curve. The Squamish, B.C., native injured her hand in the crash and was fourth.

The bronze medal was Canada's second podium appearance at the world snowboard championships. Zach Stone of Collingwood, Ont., won the silver medal in the big air event.

Maltais also ended a world championship medal drought for Canada in snowboard cross. The last medals won in that discipline were bronzes by Ricker and Francois Boivin back in 2005.


Maltais has been dominant in the 2010-'11 World Cup season with three victories in as many races. She's tied for lead in the overall World Cup standings with Ekaterina Tudegesheva of Russia and has set her sights on winning the crystal globe that goes to the season champion.

Maltais has put the disappointment of the 2010 Winter Olympics behind her. She was ranked No. 2 in the world heading into the races on Cypress Mountain in Vancouver, but crashed so hard on her back in her final training run she spit blood. She raced in the Olympics, but did not advance to the quarter-finals.

"I'm really more happy about my three wins this season than anything else," Maltais said. "What happened at the Olympics …what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

'I'm happy that I won three events and I'm still strong and confident in my head."

While she wanted to add a world championship gold to her collection Tuesday, Maltais ranks a World Cup overall trophy higher than a world title.

"I think I prefer the globe," she said. "It shows the consistency of an athlete and it's not only based on one event. In our sport, there's so many factors that can change the result."

Alex Pullin of Australia won the men's snowboard cross gold with Americans Seth Wescott and Nate Holland finishing second and third respectively. Boivin of Jonquiere, Que., was seventh and Kevin Hill of Vernon, B.C., finished 14th.

The men's and women's parallel giant slaloms are Wednesday. Mathew Morison of Burketon, Ont., was a bronze medallist two years ago and he is Canada's favourite now that Olympic champion Jasey-Jay Anderson has retired.

The world championships end Saturday.