Ski cross skiers line up in Beijing for first time since Pyeongchang gold

Ski cross has been a winter sport in Europe since 1996

Europe’s ski cross world champions will return to the track for the first time since winning gold at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.

The team, led by medal winner Bo Van Boven, will compete at the Beijing World Cup event on 25-28 July.

Van Boven, 28, told BBC Scotland: “It is an emotional thing going back to events like that [Gold has fallen away and can’t be brought back].

“There will be an air of calmness. We are all ready for competition.”

The Austrian skier competed in Slopestyle events at the Turin 2006 and Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics but decided to switch to ski cross ahead of the 2014 Sochi Games.

In Pyeongchang, he won bronze in the men’s competition and was joined on the podium by Scotland’s Stuart Benson and Christine de Bruin of Switzerland.

That trio all return to Beijing for the first time since their gold medals, but Benson, 30, believes the sport has improved significantly since then.

Benson and his fellow medal winners will line up in the World Cup next month in Beijing

“I think it’s definitely evolved a lot since 2010,” he said. “Every time you get on the track, the expectation’s bigger – there’s more TV, more media interest and more big crowds.

“I’m looking forward to racing there. It’s great having the crowd behind you, seeing them cheering for each other.

“The support was fantastic when we raced in Pyeongchang. It’s special to hear the crowd and the support of the country.

“Since Vancouver, they’ve developed the sport well and there’s more and more medals being won every year.”

The last time the World Cup took place in Beijing, Benson claimed gold, Switzerland’s Lucas Brunner secured silver and Norway’s Simen Hegstad Krueger was third.

Van Boven, who also won the event in 2013, is certain he will come away from the Beijing event with another podium finish.

“I’m ready to do some more work on the edge of the track – I’m keen to race some of the jumps with a bit more frequency and going down, I’m looking to race a few pylons more,” he said.

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