Friday, February 19, 2016

Alexis Pinturault Wins Chamonix Alpine Combined

The 3rd Alpine Combined of the season was staged today in Chamonix. Due to challenging weather conditions, the slalom run has been done in the morning, and the athletes went down the famous "Verte des Houches" downhill in the afternoon.
At least since their podium sweep in Kitzbuehel, the French team is the absolute favourite in the Alpine Combined, and after the slalom run, three French atheltes were leading the ranking: Alexis Pinturault first, Thomas Mermillod Blondin (+0.36) second and Victor Muffat-Jeandet (+0.37) third.
In first position after the Slalom run, Frenchman Alexis Pinturault skied a very strong Downhill run and claimed the win +0.27 ahead of Dominik Paris and +0.57 of teammate Thomas Mermillod Blondin.
"I didn’t realise right away that I won", said Pinturault. "I saw the flags and heard the crowd screaming, but I couldn’t believe it. Finally I saw the timing board and yes, I won. For me it’s a very important win. First because I was leading in the first run and in the Alpine Combined standings, this means a lot of pressure, and then I had to ski a track that I’m not used to, I’m not a downhiller. So at the start I was really nervous, so the emotions in the finish were even stronger".
In second position, Italy’s Dominik Paris skied strong and made it to his second podium of the season.
"I did a mistake in the slalom", said Paris. "So at the beginning I was a little big angry. But in the end I’m very happy with my result, especially with the downhill run. At the beginning of the season I would not have tought that I would be on an Alpine Combined podium, I only train slalom 6-8 times a season. But as I saw there is a chance, I tried everything and pushed hard".
Another Frenchman and Alpine Combined specialist Thomas Mermillod-Blondin.earned the last podium spot. 
"Physically I’m not 100% due to my crash in Korea", said Mermillod-Blondin. "My hip still hurts and I’m struggling to let go and ski high speed. And with the two catastrophic downhill training runs I had, the confidence was defititively not at the highest level. But thanks to a good bib number I could control the damage in the slalom and then I just risked it in the downhill. I was not even sure to race today, so this podium is very special for me".

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