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Men's Snowboarder X Report

Report from ESPN on the Men's Snowboarder X competition on January 29, 2005 at the ESPN Winter X Games in Colorado USA.

DE LE RUE TAKES OVER IN SNOWBOARDER X

Kesternholz fails to make finals; Frenchman more than willing to step in

Aspen, Colorado - The title of Snowboarder X Menís champion was officially up for grabs on Saturday afternoon on Aspenís Buttermilk Mountain.

Two-time reigning champion Ueli Kestenholz was nowhere to be found when the six finalists lined up at the starting gate - a fourth-place finish in his semifinal heat saw to that. Now it was up to one of these six individuals to stake their claim to his crown.

Xavier de le Rue (Saint Lary, France) was that man, edging Seth Wescott and Marco Huser for the gold - the first of his career in a Snowboarding event at Winter X Games.

"The run was really smooth," remarked de le Rue. "I really enjoy coming out here for this event. The sports become more and more respected each year."

Wescott (Sugarloaf, Maine), a seven-year veteran of Snowboarder X, cruised to a silver - his fifth medal (three silver, two bronze) in eight appearances in the discipline.

"I really liked the course," Wescott said. "Part of it was pretty dangerous, which makes it fun. I wished I could have gotten first. But it was exciting just to see how many fans came out today."

Huser showed what one could do with a second chance. The final qualifier from Fridayís seeding runs, Huser captured firsts in both the quarterfinal and semifinal heats Saturday morning to make a surprise entrance into the final.

It was a long way for the Squaw Valley, Calif. native to come for his first-ever Winter X Games medal. But the road traveled sure made it worth the wait.



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