De la Rue wins ‘with honor;’ Jacobellis slides to victory
Vermont’s Lindsey Jacobellis won her third consecutive X Games boardercross, five-time world champion Xavier de la Rue of France snatched his first X Games gold, and Basalt’s Jason Smith made his debut in an X Games final and charged to fourth place.The boardercross venue was in full effect Saturday for the head-to-head elimination rounds at Buttermilk. Spectacular crashes and unlikely passes entertained the masses, a crowd that swelled to a single-day attendance record 25,500 people, according to ESPN, by the time it was through.Erin Simmons, a former Aspen resident who lives in Steamboat Springs, overtook Jacobellis in the six-women final, but Jacobellis returned the favor before the finish. Simmons wrapped up second for a second-straight year.Sentimental favorite Jordie Karlinski of Snowmass Village didn’t advance from her semifinal heat, but she rode solidly in the six-rider consolation finals. The 15-year-old Aspen High sophomore passed two riders on the bottom section of the course to finish fourth in the heat and 10th overall.The best thing for the X Games rookie? She gets to come back again next year.”I’m happy I made the top 10, but I need to work on my starts,” Karlinski said.In the women’s final, Jacobellis led in the early going, but Simmons passed her up. “That’s the best feeling in the world,” Simmons said.”Unfortunately, she got me in the end. Over all those jumps, I knew she was right behind me. I just pointed it straight – ‘Come on Erin, just go’ – but she had the wax.”The men’s final featured top guns de la Rue and Seth Wescott, fresh off a world championship victory, as well as Smith. And much like the women’s final, de la Rue and Wescott played cat and mouse the whole way down.Smith fell behind early when Nate Holland went down in his path, but he wasn’t dwelling on a narrowly missed podium.”This has been my best race in a long time,” Smith said. n see Boardercross on page 4– continued from page 1It’s always better to be on the podium, always better to be first, but I made the finals and I’m super stoked about that.”Wescott and de la Rue, longtime rivals and friends, exchanged words – polite ones, of course – while on course.Despite appearances, perhaps, Wescott explained that there is an honor code among boardercross racers.”If someone’s going to make a pass, we’ll tell the person ahead,” he said. “And it happened with Xavier and I at the end of the rollers. I was like, ‘Xav, I’m on your left.’ And he actually went out of his way to open it up for me because I had more speed at that point.”Wescott went on past, but de la Rue rallied once more and edged him out before the finish line.”It’s about respect – respecting the race line and whoever’s going fastest,” Wescott said. “With some people, that hasn’t always been the case. But for us, at this high level, you have to do it because you’re racing each other every week and if you’re not doing that type of thing you’re going to get injuries.”De la Rue was ecstatic in the finish area.”I’ve been injured – I broke my collarbone – and I just rode three days before the race. So I’m so stoked to be back on track,” he said.”And it was an honorable win,” he continued. “The last two years here, there wasn’t honor. I’m not going to tell anybody, but I was bummed about that.””With Seth and [third-place finisher Marco Huser], we are friends and we always kind of race together. We’re a bunch of people who respect the lines always. If one guy is faster, we’re never going to block him. And that’s what happened, and that’s why it was so nice.”Tim Mutrie’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
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