Eurosport - Sun, 14 Mar 20:02:00 2010
Michal Ligocki became the first Polish snowboarding World Cup halfpipe winner as he stormed to gold in Valmalenco.
In only his second final in 56 World Cup starts, the 24-year old scored 40.7 with his impressive first run to finish ahead of Norway's Roger Kleivdal, who scored 37.2 to finish second, and Sweden's Patrick Burgener, who scored 37.0 for third.
"A dream came true for me today," said the Pole. "I think all the pressure from the Olympics was gone so I was able to concentrate on my riding and didn't have to think of a good result. I guess I will party the next days."
Canada's World Cup leader Justin Lamoureux put in two consistent runs of 34.3 and 34.8 but finished just outside the medals in fourth.
But the 23-year old remains on top of the World Cup halfpipe standings with 1800 points ahead of Finland's Janne Korpi, on 1730.
Victory moves Ligockito seventh overall while Burgener is in fourth with one event remaining next weekend at the World Cup final in La Molina, Spain.
Meanwhile, in the women's competition, Australia's Holly Crawford got her first win of the season, scoring 40.4 with her first run to move up to fifth in the rankings.
Switzerland's Ursina Haller scored 37.5 for silver while Canada's Mercedes Nicoll won bronze with her second run of 37.1.
The Chinese trio of Xuetong Cai, Zhiteng Sun and Xu Chen, who currently lead the way in the World Cup halfpipe standings, were all absent from the event in Italy.