When racing came to an end on day one of the double header at Val Thorens, the OWIA/NSWIS athlete was ninth but it was the way Grimus carved out his result that provided the biggest amount of encouragement.
Like the season opener in Nakiska, Canada, Grimus exhibited his undoubtable speed in the Val Thorens qualification session, clocking the fifth fastest time, just 0.38 of a second slower than the fastest man on the mountain and he was consistently in the top group of athletes throughout training sessions leading up to race day.
With an underlying approach of being more patient to pick the right time to execute passing manoeuvres and a need to minimise mistakes during races, Grimus won his first knock out final.
In the quarter finals Grimus started strongly before tucking into third. He then challenged for second place about a third of the way into the race but elected to wait for a better opportunity.
At the half way stage through a big burm, he again made another inside move for second place but lost speed when he came out of the turn, just making the top of a double, which forced Grimus to again tuck back into third.
Still in reach of second place, he stayed in the draft during the last turn but he fell short of advancing to the semis by less than two metres.
The day was won by German Andreas Schauer, ahead of French hero and former Olympic champion Jean Frederic Chapuis and Austrian Johannes Rohrweck in third.
Coach Shawn Fleming said that Grimus made a significant step in the right direction.
“It has been a while since he has moved through a heat and it was definitely what we were looking to do,” Fleming said.
“Anton does not have the experience of some of the other top guys but he has the pace. Having another great qualifying on a different style of course to Nakiska, it is giving him confidence.
“He is up there with the fastest guys and as I say, we are ticking the right boxes.
“We were hoping to get into the semis but ninth today, we’ll take that. He is comfortable with everything he needs to do.”
Grimus echoed Fleming’s take on the day.
“All in all, it was positive for me and I’m looking forward to tomorrow,” Grimus said.
Day two of the Val Thorens double header will be held tomorrow before Grimus and teammate Sami Kennedy-Sim go to a training camp in preparation for the World Championships in Austria on January 24.
Kennedy-Sim finished in 20th place in Val Thoren, unable to make the top 16 cut to qualify for the finals.
The women’s event was won by Canada’s reigning Olympic gold medallist Marielle Thompson ahead of compatriot Georgia Simmerling while Frenchwoman Alizee Baron picked up the bronze.
Women’s World Cup ski cross, Val Thorens, France
1. Marielle Thompson (CAN), 2. Georgia Simmerling (CAN), 3. Alizee Baron (FRA), 4. Anna Holmluld (SWE), 5. Ophelie David (FRA), 6. Sanna Luedi (SUI), 20. Sami Kennedy-Sim (AUS)
Women’s World Cup standings
1. Marielle Thompson (CAN) 200, 2. Georgia Simmerling (CAN) 160, 3. Alizee Baron (FRA) 100 , 4. Anna Holmluld (SWE) 95, 5. Fanny Smith (SUI) 89, 6. Ophelie David (FRA) 74, 17. Sami Kennedy-Sim (AUS) 26.
Men’s World Cup ski cross, Val Thorens, France
1. Andreas Schauer (GER), 2.Jean Frederic Chapuis (FRA), 3. Johannes Rohrweck (AUT), 4. Daniel Bohnacker (GER), 5. Arnaud Bovolenta (FRA), 6. Thomas Zangerl (AUT), 9 Anton Grimus (AUS)
Men’s World Cup standings
1. Thomas Zangerl (AUT) 140, 1. Andreas Schauer (GER) 140, 3. Jean Frederic Chapius (FRA) 94, 4. Victor Oehling Norberg (SWE) 93, 5. Johannes Rohrweck (AUT) 80, 6. Arnaud Bovolenta (FRA) 67, 17. Anton Grimus (AUS) 35.