Lindsey Jacobellis opened the 2018-19 world cup snowboardcross season in a familiar way: by winning.
The four-time Olympian and five-time world champion raced to victory in the big final Friday in Cervinia, Italy.
The victory, which was Jacobellis’ 30th in her career on the world cup circuit, also satisfied the minimum U.S. qualification criteria for the world championships, which will be held in February in Utah.
“This win is really nice and helps boost the confidence as these days I have a lot more wear and tear on my body,” Jacobellis, now 33, said afterward. “I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing with my starts and not be afraid to get in the mix with the girls.”
Jacobellis dominated throughout the competition in Cervinia, winning her quarterfinal and semifinal heats before claiming victory in the big final. The Czech Republic’s Eva Samkova, the 2014 Olympic champion, was second, followed by Great Britain’s Charlotte Bankes. No other Americans reached the top 12 in the women’s competition.
“It was an X Games style course as far as the glide, the movement and passing strategies were concerned, which I think helped with my experience,” said Jacobellis, the 2006 Olympic silver medalist who finished fourth at last year’s Olympic Winter Games.
On the men’s side, Senna Leith reached the big final and finished sixth, while Nate Holland, Hagen Kearney and 2014 Olympic bronze medalist Alex Deibold all raced in the small final, finishing eighth, ninth and 11th, respectively. Leith and Holland also satisfied the minimum U.S. selection requirements for the world championships.
The Cervinia competition continues on Saturday with another round of snowboardcross racing for both the women and men.