ANC underway Down Under
The opening technical races of the 2018 Australia New Zealand Cup (ANC) were held at Mount Hotham, Australia, this week. Both the men and ladies contested two giant slalom races and two slalom races from 20-24 August 2018.
In the opening GS race on Monday, German World Cup slalom and city event ace Lena Duerr took the win by 0.43 seconds over New Zealand's young gun Alice Robinson, in second, and Piera Hudson, third at 1.88 off the lead. The second GS race for both genders was postponed until 22 August due to overnight snowfall on Monday. The Mount Hotham crew worked tirelessly to prepare the course in time for Wednesday's rematch where Duerr showed signs of her resurgence in the discipline with a blazing victory and a 6-point result to match. Switzerland's Charlotte Chable finished second at 1.86 back followed by Hudson in third.
Duerr currently leads the ladies' ANC giant slalom standings with 200 points. Hudson, in third, is the best-ranked skier from the continent, but she is being chased down by Madison Hoffman of Australia in fourth.
Slovakian World Cup tech regular Adam Zampa kicked off his 2018/19 season with an opening GS win and 6-point race. Belgian rising star Sam Maes, who won the first three races of the Southern Hemisphere season in New Zealand earlier this month, finished immediately on Zampa's heels just 0.01 seconds back, earning him a career-best 6.09-point finish. Ian Gut (younger brother of World Cup star Lara), who formerly skied for Switzerland but changed his national representation to Liechtenstein this summer, rounded out the podium in third. Adam Barwood of New Zealand, in sixth, was the top competitor from the continent in the race.
Zampa repeated for the win in Wednesday's rematch followed by Switzerland's Nicholas Iliano, 0.29 seconds back, and Maes in third. Barwood again took the top spot for ANC eligible athletes in fifth. Zampa currently leads the men's ANC GS standings with 200 points, and Barwood is the best-ranked skier from the continent with 85.
The ladies' slaloms got underway on Thursday with Chable taking the first victory followed by Hoffman in second at +0.85 and Slovenian 17-year-old Neja Dvornik in third at +1.49. On Friday, Dvornik rallied for the win at 0.49 seconds faster than Great Britain's Reece Bell, also YOB 2001 and the daughter of former World Cup skier Martin Bell. Hudson rounded out the podium in third. Dvornik currently leads the ladies' ANC slalom standings with Hudson as the top-ranked continent skier in third. Meanwhile, Chable and Hudson are tied for the lead in the overall ANC standings with 230 points a piece.
Steffan Winklehorst of the Netherlands had a breakout victory and career-best 8.17-point result in the first men's slalom race. Zampa was in hot pursuit at only 0.05 seconds back for second place, with Norwegian Max Roeisland of the University of Vermont finishing third. Zampa returned fire for the win on Friday, securing a 6-point result, at 0.91 seconds faster than Australia's Louis Muhlen-Schulte in second. Alex Leever of the U.S. rounded out the podium in third.
Zampa currently leads the men's ANC slalom standings and overall standings (as well as the GS standings as previously noted). Muhlen-Schulte is the top-ranked continent skier in the slalom standings in third and also the overall standings in fourth. However, Barwood is giving close chase in the overall rankings and sits just nine points shy of the Australian.
The ANC series moves on to Coronet Peak, New Zealand, for more GS and SL action at the Audi quattro Winter Games NZ from 27-30 August. Check back for results, details, and standings updates during that time.
View complete results from the Mount Hotham ANC technical races here.