Serwa hails Canadian spirit after World Cup win

Kelsey Serwa

Kelsey Serwa hailed the spirit within the Canadian team after claiming her first World Cup victory of the season Wednesday in France.

Kelsey Serwa

Serwa, of Kelowna, B.C., said although she took the glory with a first place finish in Alpe d’Huez, having the support of teammates including Olympic champion Ashleigh McIvor, who was third, has been a big part of her success this season.

“We like seeing each other do well,” said Serwa, 21. “Every race so far we’ve been on the podium. It’s a reflection of how well we work together. Hopefully everyone gets their turn.”

There were three Canadians in Wednesday’s semi-final, with Serwa and Whistler duo McIvor and Marielle Thompson all vying for a place in the final alongside Ophelie David, of France. Serwa and McIvor worked together to edge out their French rival and make it through. In the final, Serwa got off to a strong start and held on for the win. Switzerland’s Fanny Smith finished just ahead of McIvor in second and Germany’s Heidi Zacher was fourth.

Serwa is now second in the World Cup standings, 11 points behind Zacher. Smith is third in the standings and McIvor fourth.

“I’m on a pretty good roll now,” said Serwa. “I know I can do it.”

Thompson finished eighth Wednesday and Calgary’s Danielle Poleschuk was ninth.

“Kelsey and Ashleigh were able to move into the final and it’s always nice to get two on the podium,” said Eric Archer, Canada’s head coach. “Kelsey was having good starts all day and Ashleigh was right behind her in the final. She was coming along and was ready to make a move but kind of slowed down on a roller and there was enough speed for Fanny to move through. It’s unfortunate we had all four girls on one side of the draw but first and third is good.”

McIvor, who skipped last week’s event in St. Johann, Austria, said a small mistake cost her in the final, but she’s happy with how she’s skiing and is enjoying the relaxed post-Olympic vibe within the team.

“I was pretty hungry for a result,” she said, adding when she’s enjoying skiing the results inevitably follow. “The whole atmosphere here is a little more chilled than in the past.”

There was disappointment on the men’s side as Chris Del Bosco, of Sudbury, Ont., once again skied well but wasn’t able to land on the podium. He was fifth.

“In the semi-final … I just got pulled in the draft and made an error,” said Del Bosco. “There was nothing I could really do to get it back.”

Del Bosco, who is returning from injury, thinks it’s only a matter of time before he claims a top-three finish.

“My starts are really good right now,” he said, adding that in the past, starts were a weakness.

The Canadian team dominated men’s qualifying on Tuesday, with four men finishing in the top 10. Nik Zoricic, of Toronto, Ont., who earned his first World Cup podium finish last week, was eighth overall after Wednesday’s finals. Teammates Davey Barr, of Brackendale, B.C., and David Duncan, of Golden, B.C., were right behind him in ninth and 10th, respectively.