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Alpine Snowboard World Cup: Ester Ledecka left 'very happy' after securing photo-finish win

The FIS Alpine Snowboard World Cup tour was shaken up on Sunday with a pair of stunners. Ester Ledecka (CZE) continued her epic return to the snowboard with another win.

Ledecka pulled off the double in Pamporovo with a dramatic, photo-finish in the big final against Sabine Schoeffmann (AUT) by 0.01 seconds. Ledecka showed off her skill with the fastest qualifying time and never looked back on Sunday.

“It was difficult, all the girls were riding fast, and the courses were similar,” Ledecka said. “It was for sure fun. I need to do more trainings on the very hard slope. I didn’t have that many. It was a little bit tough, it wasn’t what I like with smooth riding but, I am very happy because I did very good runs."

Ledecka battled somewhat icy conditions on the harder snow as the sun was beaming. It did not hold her back as she used late charges to win the final and semifinal races. She claims her 22nd World Cup victory in Alpine snowboard.

She makes it two for two after returning to snowboard for the first time this season. The dual-sport athlete was competing on the Alpine Ski World Cup tour until now. She did not confirm how many more snowboard events she will compete in this season.

Ledecka won the final on the red course. Riders on the red side went 26-6 between the men and women on Sunday. Schoeffmann had to tackle the blue side in the final and pushed Ledecka to the edge but fell short for second. It is her fourth podium of the season.

Miki Tsubaki (JPN) continued her impressive season with another podium. The 20-year-old finished third for the fourth time this season. She stunned the overall leader Ramona Theresia Hofmeister (GER) in the quarterfinals.

It is the second time the Japanese rider knocked out the dominant Hofmeister in the quarterfinals this season. She pulled off the stunner in Scuol as well. Hofmeister has made every other big final when not facing Miki, who appears to have her number.

The Italian women had a rough day as only Lucia Dalmasso (ITA) made the quarterfinals. It was just the third time this season no Italian women made the podium.

The men’s parallel slalom race in Pamporovo on Sunday was drama filled. Lee Sangho (KOR) stunned the field with consistent runs and a perfect ride in the big final to top the podium.

Lee improved on his fourth-place finish from Saturday for his second career World Cup win. It is his first in PSL and first win since 2021. Lee pulled off the win by 0.08 seconds against Andreas Prommegger (AUT), a rider who usually gets the best of Lee.

“I always lose to Andreas Prommegger and this time I beat him, I am sorry to him, but I am very. happy for that. It feels like I broke through a wall for me. Yeah, no words,” Lee said.

The 43-year-old Prommegger came up just short of his 23rd World Cup win. The two-time world champion makes his third podium of the season. He beat his Austrian teammate Fabian Obmann in the semis by 0.04 seconds. Obmann took third for his second podium of the season.

Cody Winters (USA) finished fourth on a roller coaster day. Winters posted a DNF in the first round against Arvid Auner (AUT) but, advanced after Auner pulled out with injury.

Winters then fell again in the next round but came back to defeat Benjamin Karl (AUT) after Karl also fell late on the course. Winters then lost to Lee in the semis in a close race and suffered another DNF in the small final to end fourth.

It was a bad day for the Italian men as well. Mirko Felicetti (ITA) was the only man on the team to make the quarterfinals. They had filled eight of 18 possible podium spots this season before Sunday.

It was also a disappointing day for the hometown hero Radoslav Yankov (BUL). Yankov could not pull off the victory in front of his friends, family, and Bulgarian fans. He lost to Prommegger in the quarterfinals.

The FIS Alpine Snowboard World Cup tour continues on January 25 with a parallel giant slalom race in Rogla, Slovenia.

Credit: FIS Alpine Snowboard

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