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Canadian champ Scott Croxall holds slim lead over hard-charging American Cameron Naasz in their epic battle for the 2015/16 #icecrossdownhillworldchampionship. The two have met in the finals eight times in the last three years and each has come out ahead four times.
SAINT PAUL, Minnesota (USA) – Canada’s Scott Croxall and American Cameron Naasz will square off for the #icecrossdownhillworldchampionship at the season finale in Saint Paul on Saturday. Defending champion Croxall has a slim 65-point lead and momentum going into the 10th and final race of the biggest season ever but Naasz has the confidence that comes with beating Croxall in two of the last three #redbullcrashedice races this season and the home crowd on his side.
The two best riders of the last two seasons both had their eye on the world championship trophy on Thursday ahead of training for the weekend’s racing in Saint Paul, the sport’s hotspot in the United States that will be hosting the eagerly awaited stop for a fifth straight year. There are 1,000 points up for grabs for the winner and Naasz needs to finish on the podium and ahead of Croxall to become the first American world champion in the fastest sport on skates. Croxall needs be tactical and ahead of Naasz on the extremely difficult track.
The two have met in the finals a total of eight times stretching back three years and they each won four times. Croxall won the 2015 world championship with Naasz a close second.
“I'm just focused on this race,” said Croxall, who was ahead of Naasz in the final of the Saint Paul races in both 2013 and 2014 as well as in Helsinki in 2014 and Jyväskylä-Laajis, Finland in 2016. “I try not to think about the past races and really just concentrate on the current course we need adapt to as quickly as possible.” Croxall has been incredibly consistent over the last two years, making it to the final four in 12 of the last 13 races he took part in – Riders Cup and #redbullcrashedice races. The only blemish was missing the final in Saint Paul last year, when he ended up ninth.
Naasz had dominated the first half of the season with victories at Quebec City and Munich – as well as the 2015 season finale in Edmonton. He also beat Croxall when he won the 2013 race in Lausanne, Switzerland. Naasz was also comfortably in front of Croxall in the finals at last month’s #redbullcrashedice race in Finland and could have clinched the title there but stumbled and ended up fourth while Croxall went on to win. But Naasz, who has been in the final in Saint Paul in the last three seasons, put that fall behind him and is supremely confident he can beat Croxall in front of his home crowd.
“I definitely gain energy from the hometown atmosphere,” said Naasz, who is looking to become the first American world champion. In the past, the trophy has been held by six different racers: two different Canadians, an Austrian, a Swiss, a Finn and a German. “I always look forward to the stop here of the tour because it’s my home #event. I grew up just 20 minutes south of the city in Lakeville, Minnesota. I really enjoy how Saint Paul always has one of the gnarliest tracks of the season. I especially like the huge starting ramps.”
The pressure on the top two favorites will be intense but the trophy in their sights should help keep their minds focused on the big prize.
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