Saturday, December 14, 2013

Marcel Hirscher Wins World Cup GS in Val d'Isere

The famous Face de Bellevarde slope, which hosted the technical disciplines during the 2009 World Championships, proved to be as difficult and icy as they come in World Cup. The Organizing Committee was blessed with dry weather and cold temperatures in the weeks prior to the event, allowing them to prepare a fantastic and unbelievably icy slope for this weekend races.
With a superb second run, where he held nothing back, Marcel Hirscher took home his first Giant Slalom victory of the season.
Hirscher moved up from the third place he was holding after the first run, finding his speed down the icy slope and avoiding any mistakes. His run earned him a victory while Thomas Fanara, who was tied with Hirscher after the first run finished second 0.76 seconds behind.
"Each year of my career when I have competed in Val I have done well. It’s the steepest course on the tour and that suits me well", Hirscher said. "I heard on the radio that Fanara made a great time and I knew I had to give it all to beat him. I know this slope well, I am not the biggest or strongest guy this slope suits smaller guys like myself and I like it, I like technical slopes as my technique is not too bad. This year they prepared it with more water than usual, you can not imagine how hard it is to ski, it’s a fight from top to bottom".
Thomas Fanara earned his career’s best in front of a massive fan club chanting his name all the way through the Winners presentation.
"This has been my best performance on this slope, and it means a lot knowing I had a Fan Club here and so many other French people watching", Fanara said. The French veteran has stood on the podium three times before today, always finishing third so he was very satisfied with moving one step up. "Today I just felt focused as never before, I might not have won but I still had a great race. I was really serene today; I decided not to think about what mistakes I could do and simply ski down with a clear head. I am glad it worked! I have been on the Tour for eight years now and I definitely want that victory to happen, but is a tough fight, especially when competing against three amazing GS skiers like Ligety, Hirscher and Pinturault".
Stefan Luitz was the big surprise last year, when he finished second from bib 35, and this year he once again showed how this slope suits his style very well. Despite being less than a year out from a knee injury, he mastered both runs and finished third.
"I injured my ACL in Fabruary and I am grateful for all those who helped me get back on skis. It is almost incredible that 10 months later I could be on the podium again", Luitz told the media at the press conference. "Last year I just skied my best starting from the back and earned a podium, but this year I was second after the second run so it was a new situation for me. Waiting on the start, being one of the last guys is a new experience for me and I had to adapt to it. But this type of adaptation is sure a good one and I am glad my nerves didn’t get the better of me".
Today’s favorite and winner of the last four World Cup Giant Slalom races, Ted Ligety started with bib n. 1 today, but things didn’t go according to plan for him as he slipped on a particularly icy turn in the first run and missed the next gate, ending his race right there.

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