Eagle-Vail’s Del Bosco gets first World Cup win | VailDaily.com

Eagle-Vail’s Del Bosco gets first World Cup win

Christopher Del Bosco, of Canada, celebrates after winning the Ski Cross Grand Prix at Cypress Mountain on Friday, Feb. 6, 2009, in West Vancouver, British Columbia. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press,Paul Chiasson)

CYPRESS MOUNTAIN, British Columbia ” One year and six days before the 2010 Winter Olympics open in Vancouver, British Columbia, Eagle-Vail’s Chris Del Bosco christened the Games’ skiercross venue Friday with the first World Cup win of career.

Del Bosco, 26, who holds dual American-Canadian citizenship, led a Canadian sweep of the podium, squeaking by teammate Stan Hayer on the second-to-last jump of the course in the finals. Canadian Davey Barr took the bronze.

“It’s been a long time coming,” Del Bosco said. “I knew if I kept battling and working hard, it would come.”

Del Bosco has been charging up the ranks in the last year, winning a Jeep King of the Mountain race March 16, 2008, in Sun Valley, Idaho, before notching his first podium ” a silver ” on the World Cup tour last month in Les Contamines, France.

“I’ve known Chris for a long time,” said Eric Archer, the coach of the Canadian Skiercross Team. “He’s focused and working hard in the gym. He’s got a goal, a plan and he’s going through on it. I think he realizes what hard work can do for him.”

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Running out of room

Friday’s race was the first skiercross race held in Canada ” the sport is making its Olympic debut next year at Cypress Mountain ” so it was only appropriate that the Great White North put on a show.

Del Bosco, who cruised in qualifying Thursday, did not get the jump out of the gate in Friday’s finals for which he had hoped. For most of the race, he bounced between second and third place with Barr while Hayer held the lead.

Del Bosco pushed past Barr, but wasn’t sure he had enough time to pass Hayer.

“I thought I’d run out of room,” Del Bosco said. “I thought, ‘Man, I don’t know.’ I nailed the third-to-last feature and the second-to-last jump. I got to the ground quicker than Stan. It was pretty awesome.”

Archer was also worried that Del Bosco wouldn’t get by Hayer.

“It was really close,” Archer said. “I didn’t think he was going to do it. He just nipped his teammate at the line. It’s a big day for all of us.”

Since Cypress Mountain, located west of Vancouver, will be the site for al freestyle events, including skiercross, this was the field’s chance to preview the Olympic course.

“It’s awesome. It’s how skiercross should be,” Del Bosco said. “There are big jumps, features, bank turns and doubles. It’s got everything. It’s a good test.”

Aspen’s Casey Puckett finished sixth, while former downhiller Daron Rahlves was 17th.

An omen?

While Del Bosco was excited about his win at the future site of the Olympic competition, he knows to put this in perspective when it comes to looking ahead to the Olympics, not to mention the tour’s next stop in Myrkdalen-Voss, Norway, Feb. 19.

“It gives me the knowledge that I can be at the top,” Del Bosco said. “There are so many variables in skiercross. You have to take each race as it is. Sometimes, you have good luck ” other days, not so much. I had good luck today.”

“Each year, we pick and event where we want to peak,” Archer said. “This was the event we were working toward. We’re still going to finish out the season, and then going right back to work in the spring.”

Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or cfreud@vaildaily.com.

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