Canada's Grondin wins gold at World Cup snowboard cross season opener
Sainte-Marie, Que., native has 4 World Cup victories in his career
Canada's Éliot Grondin raced his way to a gold medal on Sunday at the season-opening World Cup snowboard cross event in Les Deux Alpes, France.
The 22-year-old from Sainte-Marie, Que., edged reigning Olympic champion and runner-up Alessandro Haemmerle of Austria by less than a tenth of a second, while Spain's Lucas Eguiba took bronze.
"I had a good start and protected the lead the whole way down," Grondin told the FIS website. "I had great speed all week and have been racing some super good guys all day, especially Alessandro over the first three rounds."
Grondin finished first in his round-of-16 race, quarterfinal and semifinal en route to the four-man final at Les Deux Alps resort.
"It's a crazy day really after winning qualifications in the morning," Grondin said.
Grondin is building an impressive resume so far in his young career — he has four World Cup wins and a silver medal at the Beijing Olympics to his credit.
Fellow Canadian Evan Bichon of Mackenzie, B.C., finished 17th while Liam Moffatt, of Truro, N.S., was 28th.
Grondin teamed with Meryeta O'Dine for bronze in the inaugural mixed team event in 2022 in Beijing.
O'Dine of Prince George, B.C. was eighth in Sunday's women's race.
The next snowboard cross World Cup races are Dec. 15-17 in Cervinia, Italy.
With files from The Canadian Press