Maiden victory for Stefano Gross
ADELBODEN, Switzerland – In the first run of Sunday's slalom German Fritz Dopfer made good use of his bib number and crossed the finish line in 56.21 seconds, a time unbeaten by skiers who came down the Kaunisbergli after him.
“I had a good course starting with bib number 1, but even I could tell in some sections that the course was breaking under my feet. It will make for a difficult 2nd run but with the weather conditions improving it might not be too bad,” Dopfer said after his first run.
But in the second run, it was Italian Stefano Gross’ moment to shine as he tackled the bumpy and ratty course the best and climbed up from his 5th place in the 1st run to claim his first ever World Cup victory in a race which was marked by a sequence of crazy weather. Overnight and during the early morning hours the Adelboden hill was subjected to pouring rain, which transformed into a heavy snowfall as the morning progressed.
The Italian, who earned his first World Cup podium in Adelboden in 2012 was elated with his result.
“It’s an extraordinary day, this first victory gives it a very special taste. Its amazing, it’s an incredible day for me and my whole team. We worked hard this summer and the beginning of the season to achieve this result today. The second run was for sure difficult, but when everything is working everything feels easier,” Gross said after his win.
It was a tight, tight podium today as Dopfer held on to his lead from the first run until the very bottom of the course but ended up losing a possible first victory by a mere 0.02 seconds, time lost between the last intermediate and the finish line.
“I skied a strong second run but it was not enough for the top spot of the podium. It was so close to a victory, I tried my best but it was not enough. Congrats to Stefano, he had a great second run but I’m satisfied with my second place. All I was thinking was to push as hard as I could and hopefully cross the finish line with the green light, it was red in the end but nevertheless I had a great day,” Dopfer said.
In third place, a familiar face to the Adelboden podium – Marcel Hirscher finished only 0.03 seconds behind the best time and added 60 points to his Overall lead over Kjetil Jansrud.
“It’s not easy to cross the finish line and see that you are three-hundredths of a second behind the leader, but at the end, I’m super happy because especially after the first run, Fritz and (Thaler) were so far ahead of the other guys. It’s a very good result and it’s good to know I’m nearly as fast as the fastest guys of the race. It’s a perfect weekend — 160 points, not bad,” Hirscher said.