Sunday, March 22, 2015

Marcel Hirscher Wins Race and Takes Slalom and Overall Titles

Marcel Hirscher did it again: he walks away with the globe after winning the final Slalom race of the season at Meribel ahead of Giuliano Razzoli  +0.83 and Alexander Khoroshilov +1.09!
Sunday’s giant slalom was supposed to be the final showdown day between Marcel Hirscher and Kjetil Jansrud in what has been a season long battle for the Overall title and between Hirscher and Felix Neureuther for the slalom title. Coming into the last race of the season Hirscher was leading by 60 points ahead of Jansrud but trailing 55 points behind Neureuther.
While a scenario where Jansrud would score a 4th place or better in slalom with Hirscher not winning any points seemed highly unlikely, the Norwegian decided not to take any unnecessary risk in a discipline he hardly skis and on Saturday evening he got pulled off the slalom start list making Hirscher’s 4th Overall title official a few hours earlier than anticipated.
"I didn’t want any fuss about the Overall yesterday, Marcel still had a shot at the slalom title and I thought it would be good to let him focus on it. It just seemed fair. We all knew that gaining 60 points on Marcel in slalom would be an impossible task for me so I decided to not ski. When you don’t ski you can’t be on the start list so my coach pulled me off the board last night and made it official. It’s all good by me", Jansrud explained his decision while chilling in the finish area and watching the race.
Despite finishing second, Jansrud could not have been happier about his season and the two speed globes he earned.
"It has been a great season, I don’t feel like I am losing out on the Overall, I had a good fight. Instead of putting all my focus on not winning the Overall I’ll put it on being really happy with what I have achieved. It has been an amazing ride this season", he said.
With the Overall sorted early, all eyes were on the developments of the slalom title. In the first run, Hirscher laid down a strong run and was sitting in third place, while Neureuther made a very costly mistake just a few gates before the finish line and finished 14th, 1.74 seconds behind the leader Stefano Gross.
This development weighted heavily in Hirscher’s favor and Hirscher made the most out of it by skiing a perfect second run and taking home both the race and slalom title victories.
"It was definitely a tough situation, I am really sorry for Felix as he was so close to his first globe. But you know, it’s part of our sport", Hirscher said. "I am super happy, because before the race I was in a very unusual position, normally I didn’t stand a chance but the victory made it possible and I’m thrilled".
Hirscher has been in a similar position only last year when Neureuther was leading the standings going into the last race of the season and Hirscher managed to “steal” the title from him by edging him by 15 points. Today it felt almost as if history was repeating itself.
"There was no pressure. There is only an opportunity you have when you are in my situation and it’s to try to give it 100%, ski as fast as you can. No tactics. If everything works well it’s perfect and if I skied out it would have been ok as well. Its not the end of the world", he explained.
Neureuther was obviously disappointed by his second missed chance to win the slalom title especially as it seemed as the nerves got the best of him. The back pain that he has been suffering from on and off through the season decided to come back in the last weeks, making it even more challenging for the German to ski the way he had planned to.
"It’s tough for me. I have to say much respect for Marcel. He did an amazing job today", said Neureuther. "Marcel won the overall globe, the GS globe. Of course maybe for him it was a little bit easier than the last race. He had nothing to lose and I didn’t feel that good anymore the last two weeks. My back didn’t feel that good anymore. And then, yeah, it goes quick in skiing".

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