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Canada's Bilodeau tops podium at World Cup Final

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The Canadian Press
3/22/2013 3:18:35 PM
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SIERRA NEVADA, Spain -- Canadians Alex Bilodeau and Mikael Kingsbury ended the World Cup freestyle moguls season with a bang Friday.

Bilodeau won the final World Cup event while Kingsbury earned the overall title for the second straight year.

Bilodeau, from Rosemere, Que., earned his fifth win and 10th podium of the season at the downgraded final. The dual event was altered to a one-run single mogul competition due to strong winds that reached 126 kilometres an hour.

Bilodeau had a score of 25.31 points to finish ahead of American Patrick Deneen (23.48). Quebec City's Simon Pouliot-Cavanagh was third with 23.46 for his first World Cup podium finish.

Kingsbury finished fourth with 23.16 but still cemented the overall moguls crown as well as the overall freestyle title.

After long delays in reaching the top of the course, Bilodeau knew he would only have one run to make an impression.

"The weather was changing a lot but we knew that if 30 men could race our one run would count," said Bilodeau, "So I went for it with a big jump on the top to go for the win because I knew it was only a one run competition.

"I'm feeling really good about my skiing, (the gold medal) is a good way to start training for the summer and I'm feeling pretty confident."

The 21-year-old Pouliot-Cavanagh was overjoyed with bronze after being sidelined with a knee injury last season. He finished 11th overall.

"It was my goal for the season and I knew I could do it as long as I put everything together," he said.

Kingsbury, of Deux-Montagnes, Que., missed the podium for only the third time this season. But he finished with 11 World Cup and world championship podiums and seven wins.

"My plan today was to get those three points I needed to win the Globe," he said. "I needed to be safe, it would have been stupid to push and try to win. I'm really happy I kept to my plan because it's the perfect way to end the season.

"Overall I completed all my goals this year. Every goal that I wanted I completed. I won the world championships in single moguls; I won the Crystal Globe for the second year in a row; I won the Sochi Olympic test event; and I qualified for the Olympics. So I'm very happy."

Bilodeau finished second in both the overall and moguls standings. Marc-Antoine Gagnon of Terrebonne, Que., was fifth in moguls while Philippe Marquis of Quebec City was seventh.

On the women's side, the downgraded event cost Justine Dufour-Lapointe of Montreal a chance to grab the Crystal Globe from American Hannah Kearney.

Dufour-Lapointe was just 36 points behind the reigning Olympic champion going into the competition. But her fifth place from the qualifications with a score of 22.31 put her firmly in second overall with 640 points, 91 behind Kearney.

Unlike in the men's event, the women were not given advance warning they would only have one run, meaning Dufour-Lapointe thought her run was just qualification for duals.

"In duals qualification, placing really means nothing as long as you get in, then anything can happen," she said. "It's a sad ending (to the season), because I really wanted to keep fighting and have a chance to win the Globe, but I had a great season and finishing second is not bad.

"But you know, it's kind of a good thing because I'm still hungry for competing. I learned a lot this season and I know my strengths and what I have to work on, like my jumps."

Kearney finished first with 23.71 points while Miki Ito of Japan was second with 22.94. American Heather McPhie took third with 22.81.

Dufour-Lapointe's sister, dual mogul champion Chloe Dufour-Lapointe, was sixth to finish fifth overall, four spots ahead of Audrey Robichaud of Quebec City.

Alex Bilodeau (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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