Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Third Crown for Hirscher in Zagreb

In front of 14000 cheering fans, Marcel Hirscher dominated the first slalom of the year in Zagreb/Sljeme and took home his third Snow Queen Trophy crown. The Austrian was already in the lead after skiing a fantastic first run and was able to hold on to his lead and to win ahead of Felix Neureuther with a 0.81 second margin. In third place, the surprise of the day – Norwegian Sebastian-Foss Solevaag skied to his first ever podium with a total time 1.04 seconds slower than Hirscher’s.
Hirscher has shown before how much Zagreb’s Crveni Spust slope suits him after already winning the slalom in Adelboden three years in a row (2012, 2013, 2014) he repeated the feat in Zagreb.
"It’s unbelievable, third time in a row makes it a great victory, it’s almost unbelievable", Hirscher said after his run.
When asked about what made him excel in the Zagreb race, Hirscher was quick to praise the course conditions.
"For me it’s the preparation that makes the difference, as we have seen it today it’s very icy, allowing many athletes with high bibs to ski to the top places so I want to thank the OC for this. Of course the people that come out here, the way they are celebrating and creating a great atmosphere on the race hill helps too", he said.
Felix Neureuther gave victory in Zagreb his best shot but had to content himself with a second place, scoring enough points to hold on to his red leader’s bib for a bit longer. He is the only racer to have finished on the podium in all three slalom World Cup races this season – before today he came third in Levi on 16 November and finished runner-up in Åre before winning in Madonna di Campiglio.
Solevaag showed he could be one to watch already at the first slalom of the season in Levi where he finished 4th and tonight in Zagreb he was able to step up his game and earn the 8th podium of the season for Norway.
"It’s really nice here in Zagreb, there are a lot of spectators and I really like it here", he said.
The 23-year-old had a strong first run and was sitting in 8th position, 1.22 seconds behind Hirscher.
"I knew I wasn’t far from a podium after the first run so I just decided to give it my best shot and go for it. This is my first time here and the result took me by surprise a little bit. The conditions were very good today a lot of people cheering make it really fun to ski", Solevaag explained his game plan for the second run.

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