Alta Badia 2016: another exciting weekend of racing in the Dolomites
Alta Badia 2016: another exciting weekend of racing in the Dolomites
This year’s World Cup stage in Alta Badia kept again its promises with another series of exciting competitions hold on the spectacular ‘Gran Risa’ run surrounded as usual by a great crowd. On Sunday, Austria’s maverick Marcel Hirscher enjoyed an amazing 4th win in the thrilling giant slalom race – his forth in a row in that discipline, as many as Italy’s skiing legend Alberto Tomba.
On Monday evening, France’s outsider Cyprien Sarrazin, racing in his only seventh World Cup race, surprised all the top favorites including Switzerland’s Olympic Champion Carlo Janka in the final of the parallel giant slalom organized under strong limelight.
Norway’s Kjetil Jansrud, winner in Friday’s Super-G competition at Val Gardena, captured the first South-Tyrol Trophy calculated over the four races organized in Val Gardena and Alta Badia with his strong 3rd place in that parallel race that he could win a year ago.
Five wins for Marcel Hirscher in Alta Badia.
Marcel Hirscher on his side celebrated a nearly historical victory along his first giant slalom of the season a month after his slalom victory at Levi, in Finland. So far, the five-time overall World Cup champion had been three times 2nd in recent giant slalom races in Soelden and Val d’Isère behind Frenchmen Alexis Pinturault and Mathieu Faivre, but in Italy’s most prestigious giant slalom event of the season, the skier from nearby Salzburg achieved two nearly flawless runs to clearly beat the rest of the field.
Together with his slalom victory in December 2011, Marcel has amassed not less than five wins out of a total of forty-one in the Italian ski area. It was also his ninety-seventh World Cup podium since March 2008 – getting a little closer to the mark of one hundred and fifty-five set by Sweden’s Skiing Legend Ingemar Stenmark from March 1974 to March 1989!
With his four consecutive triumphs on the ‘Gran Risa’ Hirscher equaled the great Alberto Tomba who reached his first World Cup podium in Alta Badia exactly thirty years ago in December 1986! “This is pretty exciting for sure, and I can imagine I’ll look back with great pride about that performance once I’ll have retired, yet for the moment I’m just very happy by my solid skiing today,” he said. “This time I was able to achieve two excellent runs in a row, my equipment worked out perfectly and I immediately found the best rhythm on that demanding slope.”
“To excel here is really special as it’s such an thrilling event, the slope was once again very well prepared and I had no problems to get over those last jumps in the final part. I have for sure been satisfied by my season start in giant slalom but I wanted more than a 2nd place today,” also said the 27-year-old Austrian who built up his lead in the overall World Cup standings ahead of his nearest rivals. He also regained the lead in the giant slalom standings as his toughest rival, France’s Alexis Pinturault, crashed in the middle of his second run fortunately without getting injured again.
On Monday evening Hirscher didn’t manage to retain his winning form as he was soon eliminated in the first round by France’s Steve Missilier. Some of his closest rivals in the overall World Cup standings, France’s Alexis Pinturault or Henrik Kristoffersen, survived a few more rounds yet didn’t score many more points than the Austrian.
Nice jackpot for Jansrud.
Kjetil Jansrud, last year’s winner, seemed to have a shot for another final yet he was eliminated in the semi-finals by Carlo Janka after making a mistake on the upper part of the course. In the duel for 3rd place, he managed at least to beat his teammate Leif Kristian Haugen to score his 37th World Cup podium and move up in 2nd place in the overall standings – 171 points behind Hirscher. Pinturault is now a distant 3rd in that classification 240 points far from Marcel Hirscher.
Yet the current Super-G Olympic Champion had a huge smile on his face after the two award ceremonies he attended – especially after the second one during which he received a check of 20,000.- € from the hands from the regional authorities for his triumph in the first South-Tyrol Trophy organized this season.
“It has been a nice evening, I think parallel is a fun discipline," he said afterwards. "Parallel GS is kind of similar to GS and I think it looks like there's a little bit more action to it. I made a tactical error against Carlo Janka in the semi-finals, but this 3rd place is fine too – especially because it helped me to clinch that special bonus presented by the region. When I heard about it last week in Val Gardena, I said that I’ll do my best to get it in order to organize a nice spring party next year with all our trainers and the team. We receive great support from them throughout the year, they all work very hard to help us out and that’s a great way to reward them.”
“I am really satisfied with my season start and my three wins this month. I feel in good shape and very relaxed too. I have found out what has prevented me to fight also for the podium on Saturday in the downhill so I remain very confident for the up-coming races at Santa Caterina next week. I’ll now try my best to rest well during that short rest at home before flying back to Innsbruck and enjoy Christmas Day there with Aksel.”
A short wait for Sarrazin.
Cyprien Sarrazin didn’t need to wait too long to capture his maiden World Cup win ten months after taking part in his first major event at Chamonix where he competed in the combined. The 22-year-old from the southern part of the French Alps scored his first points a few weeks ago at Val d’Isère and was only competing in his seventh World Cup competition in occasion of that parallel giant slalom.
Skiing with great determination and also with a pretty relaxed attitude, the little known Frenchman had no apparent problems to eliminate all his rivals until reaching the finals where he managed an impressive performance beating Carlo Janka despite losing his right pole at the start.
“I was quite upset yet it also boosted my aggressiveness and I took a maximum of risks till the end,” he explained afterwards. “This victory really is amazing! I have never really dreamed about it when I was younger," Sarrazin added. "My main goal has always been to ski as fast as possible and fully enjoy it. I was just trying my best today and going for it as usual. In fact, I was so concentrated that I wasn't even looking at who was next to me."
Only a few racers in past decades were able to enjoy such a quick triumph on the World Cup tour after only a few starts. The record still belongs to Piero Gros, from Piedmont, winner of his very first World Cup race back in December 1972 at Val d’Isère with bib 45! He was only 20 years old in 1974 when he collected his first overall globe.
Yet he didn’t happen in recent seasons and Sarrazin’s exploit remains pretty remarkable – and confirms the strong position of his team in that specialty since last season.
Alta Badia 2016: another exciting weekend of racing in the DolomitesAlta Badia 2016: another exciting weekend of racing in the... continua
ALTA BADIA LET’S ROCK, DIVERTIAMOCI! GRANDE SPORT, MUSICA, ADRENALINA E DIVERTIMENTO NEL WEEK-END DELLE GARE DI COPPA DEL MONDOALTA BADIA LET’S ROCK, DIVERTIAMOCI!