Canada's Chris Robanske nabs snowboard cross gold
Quebec's Dominique Maltais wins silver
Chris Robanske accomplished something on Saturday that no Canadian male has managed to do in almost six years.
The North Vancouver, B.C., native won gold in men's World Cup snowboard cross to become the first Canadian man to win an event in the discipline since Drew Neilson accomplished the feat in Lake Placid, N.Y., in March 2007.
"It's been a very long time," Robanske said. "I'm pretty happy to break that losing streak, per se."
Meanwhile in the women's race, Dominique Maltais of Petite-Riviere-Saint Francois, Que., captured the silver medal.
Robanske posted the top time in qualifying Friday, but lost momentum off of an early jump in the final to just stand behind the pack.
But with all four racers still in close proximity, Robanske made a strong toe-side cut and managed to slip ahead.
Once in the lead, Robanske maintained a slight cushion on the other three racers through the middle of the course.
As he reached the final jump before the finish line, Robanske was aware of what he could accomplish.
"All I could think was, 'Tuck, tuck, tuck,"' Robanske said. "I had three of the best snowboarders in the world charging right behind me.
"[I] just gave it a little bit of a pop to make the landing, and then [kept] it all as small as possible."
Robanske managed to fend off his opponents and record his first World Cup win.
"I knew it was going to happen this season," Robanske said. "I knew there were going to be great moments, but it was just a matter of when.
"I know the riding's there and that I can produce these results."
Robanske was mobbed by his teammates upon the completion of the race, and once the racer got free from the pile, he embraced his uncle, who had come to watch him compete.
'It means a lot'
"It couldn't have come at a better place," Robanske said. "It means a lot to do it in Canada."
Australia's Alex Pullin was second, ahead of American Nick Baumgartner.
Robert Fagan of Squamish, B.C., finished sixth.
Eva Samkova of the Czech Republic captured the gold medal in the women's race, while France's Nelly Moenne Loccoz finished third.
Maelle Ricker, also of Squamish, was fourth.
Ricker stood second early in the race behind Samkova, who was first in qualifying and also won her quarter-final and semifinal events.
Maltais took an inside track and managed to slip by both Samkova and Ricker on the first half of the run.
"I knew it was a fast course," Maltais said. "There was room to pass there, so I went right through and it worked."
Ricker, meanwhile, lost an edge and went down, and was unable to make up the ground.
"I don't know what happened there," Ricker said. "Somewhere in there, I went inside, we got tangled a bit and I went down.
"Unfortunately, I guess I wasn't strong enough on my edge to hold myself."
Samkova passed Maltais on a turn halfway down the course and managed to hold on for the win.
"I think I've been racing really aggressive and I'm really happy with that," Maltais said.
After winning this event a year ago, Maltais feels that she can get better through the rest of the season.
"I still have a lot of room to improve," Maltais said. "I'm working on the small details to try and make me faster.
"Everything is [falling into] place for [the Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, next year] and it's looking good."