Vidmar, Usobiaga are World Cup Champs
In a topsy-turvy last stage of the lead-climbing World Cup, in Kranj, Slovenia, several of the main contenders for the 2007 overall title didn’t even make the finals. But in the end, the two points leaders going into the final comp emerged victorious: Slovenia’s Maja Vidmar and Spain’s Patxi Usobiaga.
At the start of last weekend’s eighth and final World Cup comp for 2007, two women (Vidmar and Angela Eiter) and three men (Usobiaga, Ramón Julián “Ramonet” Puigblanque, and Jorg Verhoeven) each had enough points to win the season title—if they did well enough at Kranj. But Austria’s Eiter, the World Cup champion for the past three years, didn’t make the finals in Slovenia, giving Vidmar the 2007 title, a prize she clinched in style by winning the final stage in front of her home-country crowd.
The men’s final was heartbreaking for the Netherlands’ Verhoeven, who was third in the season standings going into Kranj but was given a sudden shot at the overall crown when the Spaniards Usobiaga and Ramonet failed to make the finals. If Verhoeven managed to win in Kranj, he would snag the overall victory. Instead he slipped to sixth, giving the title to Usobiaga.
2007 Lead World Cup (Overall Standings)
1. Maja Vidmar (SLO)
2. Angela Eiter (AUT)
3. Muriel Sarakany (BEL)
4. Natalija Gros (SLO)
5. Irati Anda Villanueva (SPA)
1. Patxi Usobiaga (SPA)
2. Ramón Julián Puigblanque (SPA)
3. Jorg Verhoeven (NED)
4. Tomás Mrázek (CZE)
5. Flavio Crespi (ITA)
Dates of Event: November 17-18, 2007