Baumgartner finishes second

VEYSONNAZ, Switzerland – Inches from victory, Nick Baumgartner of Iron River and Nate Holland of Squaw Valley, Calif., took a photo finish second at the third and final FIS World Cup snowboardcross team event Sunday.

Canadian team of Christopher Robanske and Robert Fagan captured top honors.

Baumgartner won all three heats as the first leg of the relay.

“I thought we had it but he got edged out right before the finish line,” Baumgartner said on his Facebook page. ” It was fun. I can’t wait to race in a few days in Spain.”

Baumgartner muscled through tense heats to finish seventh in the World Cup snowboardcross event Saturday.

“I had a great day,” said Baumgartner, who claimed three of four heats. “Unfortunately, the one I didn’t win was the semifinals where I was making a pass for the lead in the last corner. I got pushed low, couldn’t keep the speed and got passed right before the finish.”

Baumgartner did lead three other Americans to lead the small finals.

“It went pretty well for the most part,” said U.S. snowboarding coach Peter Foley. “They were all killing.”

Baumgartner secured the top U.S. finish while Jonathan Cheever placed ninth.

“Baumgartner and Cheever were tied for second in the last turn and it went wrong for them,” Foley said. “I’ve got to study the video and learn why. We had four people in the small final and could have easily had four people in the big final.

“It was a bummer. They all rode great and sometimes it just doesn’t go your way. I am encouraged by everyone’s snowboarding today.”

The race left Baumgartner in fourth place in the World Cup snowboardcross standings, within reach of the top three as the team moves to Thursday’s finals in Sierra Nevada, Spain.

In the “Big Final,” Alex Pullin of Australia and Mateusz Ligocki of Poland became the first snowboard cross riders to share a victory.

( contributed to this story)