Canada’s Dave Duncan won the World Cup ski cross event at Innichen, Italy on Saturday, marking his first career win.
The 31-year-old of London, Ont., has been battling injuries since joining the team in 2007. Duncan led the charge from start to finish to take home gold in the first of back-to-back World Cup races.
“I feel like this day has been coming for a long time,” said Duncan, who will likely need one more podium finish before the end of January to ensure he qualifies for nomination to Canada’s Olympic team.
“My start was on today. It made my day a lot easier,” said Duncan.
“I know what I’m capable of when I’m healthy. I’ve made winning a World Cup my goal ever since I started. I’ve been fully dedicated and to finally get this victory means a ton.”
Veterans Kelsey Serwa and Brady Leman also landed on the podium confirming their spots on the Canadian team in Sochi.
Leman, who finished third in Nakiska, Alta., less than two weeks ago, earned his second podium of the year with a bronze medal.
“That’s two podiums this year,” said Leman, who pre-qualified for Sochi based on last season's results.
“[Pre-qualifying for Sochi] is a big load off, for sure. It’s also great to see Dunc finally win one. He’s been in a bunch of finals and everyone who trains with him knows what he’s capable of.”
Fanny Smith of Switzerland won the women’s final to move into top spot in the overall World Cup standings.
Serwa finished second for her first podium of the year, a result that ensures she will have a spot on the Canadian team in Sochi. The 24-year-old of Kelowna, B.C., continues her successfull comeback from a torn ACL.
“In the final I was confident heading in because I had been beating Fanny out of the start and was really starting to dial it in. I was calm and focused,” said Serwa.
“I won the start and then we just got tangled up coming out of the first or second turn. I followed her down to the finish.”
“My knee feels way better than it did at this time last year and I’m really starting to figure things out,” she said. “I was not planning on racing the second race tomorrow but I think at this point I would be silly not to!”
Other Canadian’s in the top 10 were Marielle Thompson (fifth), and Georgia Simmerling (sixth).