Sports don't get much more exciting than the men's snowboardcross final at Cypress on Monday.
Mike Robertson of Canmore, Alberta, a relative newcomer to the national team, won his Round of Eight race to move to the quarterfinals, which he also won.
Then came the semi-finals, where he faced teammate Robert Fagan of Squamish. Robertson won that heat to advance to the finals against Americans Nate Holland and Seth Wescott - the reigning Olympic champion - and unheralded French rider Tony Ramoin.
That set up an epic battle where the lead changed hands no fewer than three times. Roberton took the whole shot by less than a board length. Nate Holland muscled in front at one corner before Robertson took charge once again. Holland blew out a little further down the course, giving Robertson a solid lead.
But Wescott, who was in fourth and avoided Holland's mistake, had a few tricks up his sleeve, going low in one corner and then airing over a step-up jump that Robertson landed short on to take the lead, which he held to the finish. Robertson made it close once again but finished second by about a third of a board length.
Meanwhile Rob Fagan extracted some vengeance on the field in the small final, winning that heat to place fifth.
Robertson, 25, didn't start the season as a member of the national team. He has also never reached the podium before in a World Cup event - his best result was a fifth place at Stoneham, Quebec in January where he snapped up the final spot on the team.
"The final was a battle, me and Nate battled up top a little bit," he said. "Then I got the lead and missed a jump near the bottom, and Seth was able to pass me. I was just a little short at the finish, but I don't feel that way right now," said Robertson, adding that he was just starting his career and enjoying the experience.
Other Canadians in the mix were Drew Neilson and Francois Boivin, both eliminated in the quarter-finals to finish 11 th and 12 th respectively.
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