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Snowboarder claims gold in Canada

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Alex “Chumpy” Pullin crashed but Australia unearthed yet another potential Winter Olympic medallist in snowboard cross at a World Cup meet in Canada.

Young gun Jarryd Hughes rode his luck at Lake Louise, taking advantage of spills in the first three heats and there was no denying him in the final, the 18-year-old constructing a superb tactical race to secure a breakthrough World Cup win.

Pullin and Hughes had faced off in a round-one heat but shortly after taking the lead the Sochi gold medal fancy was clipped from behind by long-time rival Pierre Vaultier.

Despite a big tumble, Pullin appeared unscathed, Vaultier looking the worse for wear as he was taken on a stretcher from the course.

After a semi-final appearance in the first World Cup, Hughes now also leads the overall standings in snowboard cross.

His result capped a strong weekend for Australians competing on the World Cup circuit.

In China, aerial skier Lydia Lassila equalled her best World Cup performance since 2010 when she was second at an event staged at Beijing’s summer Olympics arena, the Bird’s Nest Stadium.

Lassila qualified first for the decider but was pipped in the one-jump super final by Xin Zhang with Chinese compatriot Xu Mengtao in third.

Australians Danielle Scott and Laura Peel were sixth and seventh respectively.

In Colorado, Russ Henshaw was third in the slopestyle World Cup event at Copper Mountain, continuing his consistent start to the season.

Henshaw was a podium finisher at the New Zealand World Cup fixture in August and the Dew Tour pro event last week.

Teammate and Sochi medal hope Anna Segal struggled, though, admitting to some bumps and bruises after crashing on both her qualifying runs.

Meanwhile, the ski cross team continues to struggle with Katya Crema the only Australian amongst the five-strong contingent competing to make it to head-to-head racing at the World Cup event in Italy.