Sunday, December 13, 2015

Henrik Kristoffersen Wins Val d’Isere slalom

Henrik Kristoffersen wins today slalom in Val d’Isere by an impressive 1.09 seconds over Marcel Hirscher. Rounding out the podium in third, 1.46 seconds back, was German Felix Neureuther with his second podium of the weekend after his runner-up performance the previous day.
"I’m a little sore today from yesterday", explained Kristoffersen. "It maybe didn’t look that big on TV but I hurt my hip and leg a little bit but it’s OK. I’ve had some pain before and in the race you have so much adrenaline that it’s OK".
Crossing the finish line after running bib one in the first run, Kristoffersen, to the surprise of many, shook his head in disappointment despite making short work of the quick and challenging course set, which featured a unique hairpin-to-hairpin section just before the finish that could be skied three different ways.
"The feeling was so bad after first run", he explained. "The course was so tight and turny, but it was like that for everyone. The feeling, like I said, was really bad but apparently the skiing was pretty good so I’m happy".
For Marcel Hirscher, Kristoffersen’s first run dominance came as quite a shock to the Austrian. Eventually finding himself 1.66 seconds back in eighth place after the first run, Hirscher and his team went back to the drawing board to sort out a game plan for run two.
"After the first run, it was a disappointing moment. It was more like a shock because I felt OK", Hirscher admitted. "We decided to analyze it and change really a lot. It was a lot of risk to change so many different screws but at the end it was totally the right decision".
Hirscher’s second run harkened back to his breakthrough years on the World Cup, where his breakneck style of coming from behind with borderline reckless skiing was a common occurrence, delighting fans and producing a few grey hairs on the heads of his coaches and father, no doubt.
"I’m smiling. I’m super happy. I’m pumped. This was one of those runs that I usually skied when I was 18 years old", he added. "It was total fun to be sometimes a bit over the maximum and run completely on the edge".
Felix Neureuther walks away from Val d’Isere with two podiums – a third today to add to his second from yesterday’s GS. Even though he was shut out from the win two days in a row, the German has many positives to take into future races despite his struggles with back pain.
"I’m not disappointed. I’m very happy with a podium today, definitely", he said. "It was a tough race, tough conditions, course setting, and I can be really happy to go home with two podiums this year in Val d’Isere. You always try to be better and better and faster and faster, and I did some mistakes so that’s why I was third today but I will try better next time".
After yesterday’s race, Neureuther expressed some uncertainty about his slalom form as he was limited in his training over the summer and fall. Although he likely didn’t demonstrate top form this weekend, the German will look to be more aggressive moving deeper into the season now that his back has passed muster in slalom.
"Cool races next week so I feel really good, my back feels really good at the moment and I hope – knock on wood – it will be like that,", he added. "I need some more days of training and then I try to become faster and faster and then we will see what’s going to happen next week".

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