Éliot Grondin has not skimped on training in recent months and, already, he is seeing his work be rewarded. On Sunday, the Quebecer proved that he will be a force in the Snowboard Cross World Cup circuit by winning the first stage of the 2023-2024 calendar held at the Les Deux Alpes ski resort, in France.

Beyond the result, there is the way: the skateboarder from Sainte-Marie came close to perfection during his first individual outing in the countryside.

He first flew through qualifying to secure bib number one for the elimination phase, where he won each of his four starts. What’s more, he never left the lead of a race after the transition to the second intermediate time, racing towards victory each time.

“I came ready! I won all the training runs, so I knew I had the speed to win. After that, to manage to win the qualification and the final is quite satisfying. It went really well, the course was good for me with a fairly technical start, so I was able to save myself and stay ahead until the bottom,” summarized the 22-year-old athlete by videoconference at the outcome of the competition.

In the grand final, Grondin was the third fastest at the start, which did not prevent him from catching up with his rivals to take the lead. He made a slight mistake at turn three, but he quickly recovered to maintain the lead of the race.

He then never looked back and headed towards a gold medal which he attributes to all the work done before the start of the season.

“I think it all goes back to the beginning of the summer, with superb physical and mental preparation. I really had a good preparation, I was ready and confident in all aspects of my race”, indicated the one who was ahead of veterans Alessandro Haemmerle, from Austria, and Lucas Eguibar, from Spain.

There have been many changes for Grondin in recent months. Not only did he opt for a new choice of equipment in collaboration with the Canadian technical team, he also selected different training plans indoors and on the snow.

“I think it helped me a lot,” he admitted. I spent a lot of time behind guys from other teams in practice to find ways to get up front in this type of situation. Today [Sunday] I didn’t really need it, which is a nice problem, but I was ready for any scenario. »

One thing is certain, the double Olympic medalist from the Beijing 2022 Games is thinking big for the rest of the international calendar. This triumph, the fourth of his career in the World Cup after those of Mont-Sainte-Anne (2023), Veysonnaz (2022) and Bakouriani (2021), has enough to fuel his ambitions.

“[The victory] of Mont-Sainte-Anne helped make the summer a little easier. […] The job was well done. It sure builds confidence and gets the season off to a great start! » he concluded.

Also in action for France this weekend, Gatineau’s Tristan Bell took 52nd place in qualifying and was unable to continue in the elimination races.

Grondin, Bell and their national snowboard cross team teammates will head to Italy over the coming week to prepare for the next World Cup stop scheduled in Breuil, December 15-17 .