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North Van's Maelle Ricker wins World Cup snowboard cross race, eyes Crystal Globe

After going two years without a World Cup victory, Maelle Rickers second win in as many starts has put her in position to win another Crystal Globe.

After going two years without a World Cup victory, Maelle Rickers second win in as many starts has put her in position to win another Crystal Globe.

The 33-year-old North Vancouver snowboarder, who took gold in snowboard cross at the 2010 Olympics, qualified first and then won the six-rider final in Valmalenco, Italy, on Wednesday, leaving her just 110 points behind teammate Dominique Maltais for the overall points title with the final race of the season scheduled for Friday at the same venue.

I guess the Globe is now on my mind, Ricker, a two-time winner of the World Cup seasons top prize, told reporters at the finish area. I didnt think I was going to be close like this before the race.

But now, the race on Friday is much more exciting.

Ricker said that despite soft snow, the course was still fast. It was like the perfect day.

Slowed by shoulder weakness as a result of injuries sustained in a crash at the 2011 world championships, Ricker began the year with three fifth-place finishes.

All three of those races were won by Lindsay Jacobellis, but the American tore an ACL during an X Games training run in late January.

Maltais, a winner at Blue Mountain near Collingwood, Ont., was fourth Wednesday behind Ricker, Alexandra Jekova of Bulgaria and Nelly Moenne Loccoz of France on Wednesday. But she still leads the standings with 4,060 points to Rickers 3,950. Jekova is third with 3,720. First-place Friday is worth 1,000 points, with 800 for second and 600 for third.

On the mens side, Stian Sivertzen of Norway completed a remarkable comeback from devastating injury by winning his second career World Cup.

In 2009, Sivertzen sustained serious head injuries and a torn aorta in a crash during a pre-Olympic World Cup at Cypress.

No one thought I could ever come back, said Sivertzen, who turns 23 in two weeks. I was five days in coma and had to learn to walk and ride again. Do doctor believed I could do it, but I did it.

Sivertzen edged out Alex Tuttle of the U.S. and Tony Ramon of France. Kevin Hill of Vernon was the top Canadian in 29th.

Pierre Vaultier of France, who broke his ankle in a crash during a semifinal, has already clinched the mens Crystal Globe with 3,852 points. Nate Holland of the U.S. is second with 2,248.

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