Saturday, March 14, 2015

Alexis Pinturault Wins Giant Slalom in Kranjska Gora. Marcel Hirscher Takes the World Cup GS Title.

Alexis Pinturault was the man to beat in Saturday’s Pokal Vitranc giant slalom race. The French, collected three giant slalom podiums at the Slovenian venue before finally clenching his first victory. After leading in the first run, Pinturault skied a strong second one and with a time of 2 minutes 19.78 won his first giant slalom race since 2013. By finishing in second place, 0.68 seconds behind Pinturault, Marcel Hirscher earned 80 points and locked down the season’s giant slalom title. After sitting in fourth place after the first run, Pinturault’s teammate Thomas Fanara climbed up one position and with a time 0.91 seconds behind the fastest time, earned his second podium of the season.
"It’s a special day for me because it’s my first GS victory after many years. This year, it was really tough to beat Marcel and I finally did it. I’m really happy", Pinturault said.
Pinturault was leading after the first run and knew that coming down the Podkoren as the last racer in the second one, he could easily lose valuable time if he lets the marks on the slope impact his skiing.
"It’s much more difficult in the second run because it’s much more bumpy as a result of the racers so you have to be really smooth on the bumps. Some guys can ski really, really fast in these conditions and you have to be careful. In the end and you never really know how you did until you are through the finish line", he said.
Hirscher won the giant slalom title in 2012 and has been the only skier to interrupt Ted Ligety’s supremacy in the discipline.
"This is the first time since the change in the ski rules that I’ve caught the globe in GS", Hirscher said. "For me, it was two years with a lot of thinking and disappointment against Ted. I was 2.7 seconds behind Ted in the first race with the longer skis. We realized that we are so far away from Ted and that was the beginning of a long way and a lot of work, a lot of test and some different setup things. Many people worked really hard for this success".
With one globe under his belt, Hirscher’s job is far from done, as his battle with Kjetil Jansrud for the Overall is still open.
"It’s not possible to win the Overall globe if you’re skiing bad in one discipline — you have to have two really good disciplines. If I had to choose, I would say I prefer retaining the big globe compared to winning back the giant slalom one, definitely. But it is also really nice to have the GS globe. It gives me extra power for the next races so I hope the two can go hand in hand", Hirscher explained.
It has been exactly a year and one day since France saw two of their athletes together on the podium, as at last year’s Finals in Lenzerheide Pinturault and another Thomas, Mermillod Blondin finished first and second in the super-G.
"It’s a very good day for the French ski team today. It’s a special feeling to share the podium with Alexis. It’s always better to not be the only French on the podium. I’m really glad to be with these two amazing champions, Marcel and Alexis", an extremely happy Fanara said.
Fanara seems to perform at his best on challenging, technical courses and Kranjska Gora fits that description perfectly. On top of that, it has a special meaning in Fanara’s career.
"I’m very glad to be on the podium today because I started my World Cup career here and I thought one day I would be on the podium. This is the day", Fanara explained. "I think my ski technique is better on this slope and this snow condition. And we know, with our skis, Fischer, the best condition is when it is hard and a little bit icy. When the snow is salted with spring temperature, its more difficult for the Fischer team. When the snow is like winter, we have a chance".

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