Basalt’s Smith 2nd at Gravity Games |

Basalt’s Smith 2nd at Gravity Games

Nate PetersonEagle County correspondent
Frenchman Xavier de le Rue leads Basalts Jason Smith, left, toward the finish line during the finals of the Winter Gravity Games mens boardercross at Copper Mountain Thursday. Vail Daily photo/Bret Hartman.

COPPER MOUNTAIN – Xavier de le Rue’s grasp of the English language is so complete that the French boardercross racer seamlessly uses tired American sports clichés in postrace interviews.A perfect example came Thursday after de le Rue won the men’s boardercross final in the first day of competition at the Winter Gravity Games at Copper.

“I’m pretty fired up,” de le Rue said. ” Real hungry. I’m just having fun on my board.”The French national team rider took the holeshot (lead out of the gate) in the six-man final and rode without error to the win. Basalt’s Jason Smith was 0.7 seconds back in second place and Montana’s Mike Rosengren took bronze.

Smith was in third early on, but cut in front of Rosengren on a berm near the top and held on for the silver.”It always feels good to podium, but it never feels good to get passed,” Rosengren said. “He made the pass right in the first corner, right out of the gate. I just kind of took a bad line and kind of got kicked outside and he just snuck inside. I should have known better.”

Oregon’s Mark Schulz finished fourth, Sweden’s Jonte Grundelius was fifth and California’s Paul Henderson finished sixth.De le Rue pocketed $10,000 for the win. Smith took home $5,000 and Rosengren earned $2,500. The remainder of the $20,000 purse was divided among Schulz, Grundelius and Henderson.

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