Dominique Maltais wins World Cup snowboard cross in Andorra
Win marks 34th career podium finish
Canadian Dominique Maltais had a simple goal heading into her snowboardcross final on Saturday: put her competition in the rear-view mirror.
Maltais placed first in the World Cup event, finishing ahead of Bulgaria's Alexandra Jekova in the final. American Lindsey Jacobellis was third, while Japan's Yuka Fujimori finished just off the podium.
"I think those girls behind me were battling for the second and third positions," said Maltais. "After the first bank I just closed the door. I didn't want to let them pass me. Like I said, I was racing to win and didn't want to give them any chances to win.
"After the first bank they just disappeared."
Maltais, from Petite-Riviere-St-Francois, Que., earned her 12th career World Cup gold medal and extended her lead in the snowboardcross World Cup rankings.
Maltais earned bronze at the 2006 Olympic Games and is set to return to the Games this February in Sochi, Russia.
"Sochi is definitely the major goal for the season, but for me, I'm taking race after race," said Maltais. "I'm always setting goals, every race. I'm always looking to improve myself and if I'm reaching those goals every race it doesn't matter the result, I'm really happy if I can reach those goals."
It was Maltais's third medal in three World Cups this season. She was also second at both the season opening stop in Montafon, Austria, and in Lake Louise, Alta.
"Even with my two second places I was really happy because, like I said, I'm always setting different goals and looking to improve myself and put myself in different kinds of situations with different kinds of competitors," said Maltais, adding that testing herself on the World Cup circuit would lead to a better performance at the Olympics.
Olympic champion Maelle Ricker of Squamish, B.C., was eighth, while Carle Brenneman of Whistler, B.C., was 18th and Zoe Bergermann of Acton, Ont., placed 20th.
On the men's side, Chris Robanske of Calgary won the small final for a season's best seventh. Kevin Hill of Vernon, B.C., was 34th, Robert Fagan of Squamish, B.C., 35th and Baptiste Brochu of Saguenay, Que., 47th.
Trevor Jacob of the United States won the gold.