Baumann wins third season's Super Combined

05 February 2012 11:26

CHAMONIX, France- Romed Baumann takes home the top spot on the podium in Sunday’s Super Combined race in Chamonix. After leading the Dowhnill, the Austrian speed skier managed to hold on to his advantage and with a time of 2 minutes, 56.10 seconds he left homeboy Alexis Pinturoult 1.10 seconds behind. In third place, 1.19 seconds off the Austrian, Beat Feuz.

The current Overall and Super Combined leader Ivica Kostelic, who also won last year’s Super Combined race here in Chamonix, didn’t manage to do his usual “Slalom charm” and finished 7th, 1.44 seconds slower than Baumann.

With the Slalom being set by his father Ante, Kostelic was expected to make a big step forward in the second part of the SC, and he did, but his Slalom run was only enough to take him from 19th into seventh place.

With today’s third place, Beat Feuz who is currently second in the discipline standings, is now only 16 points behind Kostelic.

Baumann might have not been so sure about how well he could ski the Slalom but today he found it in himself to ski the fastest way down the tight gates. He was thrilled with the result, this being his second career victory. The first time he reached the top of the podium was in 2009 in Sestriere, also in a Super Combined event.

“It’s my second victory on the World cup Tour and this time it feels really great,” a happy Baumann said.  “I had some good races this past weekend but the win was too far for me. So, I was really full of energy to go hard on this hill today. I did a really good job in the Downhill…I knew there was some space between the Slalom guys and me. I showed a good Slalom run and won the race.”

Ante Kostelic is well known on the Tour for his really technical course settings and Slalom figures which might not be an everyday thing for most skiers. Yet today, he set a rather simple Slalom, possibly penalizing Ivica a little bit. Most skiers, including Baumann were surprised it was that easy.

“First when I heard that Ante Kostelic was the course setter of the Slalom, I was a little worried," Baumann said.
"But than I got to inspection and realized it was a really nice course- not too difficult and it was set really fair also for us Downhill guys. I have to say thank you.”

Baumann, as everyone else thought Kostelic was going to be the one to beat today. By winning both Super Combined this season, Kostelic seemed the obvious favorite.

“Ivica was my favorite for today, even if he didn’t do all that great in these last Downhills. He likes Chamonix, he won here last year and he is in a great Slalom shape. I thought he was going to be my biggest opponent today. In the end he did not have this perfect Slalom run and it wasn’t enough for a podium,“ Baumann commented.

With two podiums this week, Baumann is bringing home some great memories from the French resort.

“This weekend was amazing for me,” he said. “I got a lot of points and a lot of good emotions.”

After three days of racing, the French crowd finally saw one of their own on the podium. Pinturault, more known as a great upcoming Giant Slalom skier, showed some serious speed and Slalom skills.

“I will try to do more Downhills and do even better in the future,” Pinturault said. “After the Downhill I just planned on attacking and now I am on the podium in my own country. It’s simply a great feeling, this has been my first home podium and I really hope this it is not the last and that there will be more in my career.”

Feuz is moving up the Overall ranking and is now third, 148 points behind the leader Kostelic. He still always speaks German to the press, but might want to work on his English if he plans to continue skiing this well. Every time he is approached in English, he understands the question but answers in German- he has somehow managed to make it a cool trait of his personality.

“This is really good for me today. I didn’t start well and my 21st place in the first Downhill was somewhat disappointing,” Feuz commented on the past week.  “Than a second and a third place saved the week and I am really happy. I am happy I was able to move this much forward. I used to ski Slalom when I was a junior skier, and I was not a bad at it. But than injuries came and my focus went to the speed disciplines. It was really important to be on the podium here today, to gain some valuable points. Than, what happens next…we will see.”

The men’s Tour is now moving to Sochi for the preview events of the 2014 Olympic Games. On the 11th there is a Downhill while on the 12th a Super Combined is planned.

For full results from today’s race, go here.

To check out the Overall standings, here.

Here Baumann and Pinturault talk about today's race.

For our German speaking readers- video interview with Beat Feuz.

by Ana Jelusic