Friday, March 4, 2016
Alexis Pinturault Wins 4th Giant Slalom of the season in Kranjska Gora
The 55th edition of the Vitranc Cup kicked off today with a first Giant Slalom, replacing the cancelled race of Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Conditions on the Podkoren race hill were tough, because of yesterday‘s snowfall and today’s warm temperatures. The start had to be lowered, but thanks to tireless work of the course crew, the conditions were safe and fair for all the participants.
One man is setting the standards in Giant Slalom, whether the course is long, or short, turny or straight, icy or soft. It’s Frenchman Alexis Pinturault. After having won the 3 last Giant Slaloms of the season, Pinturault was the „one-to-watch“ in the Kranjska Gora. He defintiviely kept up to his reputation as he took his 4th win in a row in Giant Slalom and came back only 91 points behind Marcel Hirscher in the Giant Slalom standings.
"I feel great, for sure", said Pinturault. "You know, after a victory, it is always something special. It is a special moment. It was a great, tough race today. What about tomorrow? We'll see, because it's going to be not the same as today. Expecting rain, so that's going to be really hard mentally".
In second position, Austria’s Philipp Schoerghofer seemed to fly over the bumps and finally laid down two very strong runs, finishing only +0.47 behind the winning time. Schoerghofer has been very constant this season, with six Top 15, but he struggled to claim a position on the podium. In Kranjska Gora, he came back to his 2010/11 shape and claimed the 5th World Cup podium of his career.
"The feeling is amazing for me", said Schoerghofer. "It's been such a long time, it was four years ago since I last stood on the podium! I skied very well, but the big mistake in the second run was huge, but after that I risked it all and at the finish line, the green light is there and I was very surprised and very happy about my second place. The last four years were not easy with the skis and with the regulations from the FIS. I had big problems with that, but now, I skied good with them, so it's good to be back on the podium".
Overall leader Marcel Hirscher earned his 16th (!) podium of the season, the 7th (out of 8) in Giant slalom. Despite the pressure (Hirscher could actually win the Overall Globe fort he 5th time in a row) and a disappointing first run, the Austrian could ski at his best level in the second run and grab the 3rd place of the first Kranjska Gora Giant Slalom.