Sunday, December 20, 2015

Marcel Hirscher Wins His Third Giant Slalom of the Season at Alta Badia

It was a disputed finish in the men’s Audi FIS Alpine World Cup Giant Slalom race in Alta Badia (ITA), but in the end it was a familiar name topping the field as Austrian Marcel Hirscher took his third straight Giant Slalom victory.
Finishing in second place was Henrik Kristoffersen (+0.19). Rounding out the podium in third, 0.86 seconds back, was French Victor Muffat-Jeandet in his third podium of the season.According to Hirscher, things might have turned out differently if it weren’t for a last minute bit of information from his staff.
"That was a pretty lucky moment that my physio told me at the start before the second run that Henrik had an incredibly good run, so I exactly knew that now is the time to try your total 100 percent", Hirscher explained. "I think I’ve done it pretty good, so I’m super happy with the first place".
The snow in Alta Badia was uncharacteristically soft in comparison to the vertical ice rink of previous years, with the later starters in both runs having to contest with the course deterioration in the flat light of the shaded trail.
"The snow was softer than what we are used to skiing on at Alta Badia. The last couple of years that I have raced here it was always super, super slick and icy and today it was perfect grippy", Hirscher said. "That is for sure not easy for my kind of skiing and technique. In general, I felt OK, but that is not what I’m looking for in Alta Badia. But in the end, I won, so no questions anymore. It doesn’t matter. I am super happy".
For Kristoffersen, this result marks the first time in the 30 year history of World Cup racing at Alta Badia that a Norwegian has made it to the podium.
"I’m really proud. It was a close battle with Marcel. I’m getting closer and closer, but still he has a little edge on me", Kristoffersen said in the finish. "Today I am really satisfied. I skied really good, especially the middle part in the second run was really good skiing. I pushed really hard. I’ve done something that no other Norwegian has done before and there have been many amazing skiers from Norway skiing here, so I’m pretty proud of myself for that".
After hearing that Hirscher said the Norwegian forced him to ski at another level, Kristoffersen expressed deep admiration for one of the best technical talents the sport has ever seen.
"I hope I pushed him to his limit, for sure. That’s what I’m aiming for and one day, hopefully beat him. Hopefully this season, we’ll see", he said. "It’s so hard to beat him, he’s such an unbelievable athlete. For me, he’s the best skier I’ve ever skied against for sure, without a doubt both in GS and in slalom. He’s one of the biggest all time in the sport. It’s pretty amazing to compete with him and getting closer and closer is a pretty good feeling".
It was a day of firsts for Muffat-Jeandet who not only wore bib one for the first time in his World Cup career, but also held the lead after first run en route to his third straight podium appearance in GS.
"I’ve always been consistent in my career, so it’s good because it’s on a better level. I’m really happy with the first run, it was not so easy to start first, it was my first time in World Cup", the Frenchman explained. "It was also a new thing for me to start last in the second run to close the gate. It’s OK, I think you have to learn it. I was in a good mind, but maybe I was a little bit too aggressive. Today it was not so icy. It’s a little bit aggressive snow and sometimes I was doing some mistakes but I’m happy because I could lose much worse. Third place is OK. Marcel was really fast and Henrik too. I need still a little bit of work to go good in two runs and then it will be OK".

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