Men to finally race in sunny Soelden
Sölden tends to be a special race, it’s the only race of the season that takes place on a glacier and it’s the first time after many months that racers get to see where they stand and if all the hard work over the summer has paid off.
Last year’s men’s race kicked off with an exciting start. Even though it wasn’t sunny it seemed that there wouldn’t be any problems. France’s Cyprien Richard put down an amazing performance in the first run finishing just 0.02 in front of the defending GS overall champion Ted Ligety who had Phillip Schoerghofer and Davide Simoncelli breathing down his neck, only 0.03 behind the leader. Fog was slowly starting to roll in, but that didn’t stop the guys from cramming the top of the leader board. Austria’s Marcel Hirscher in fourth, Kjetil Jansrud and Aksel Lund Svindal from Norway in fifth and sixth all made it down the steep course on the Rettenbach glacier less than a second slower than Richard.
Unfortunately, that was all we got to see of the men’s race. Thick fog started crawling in by the end of the first run, and although the start time of the second run got pushed back a few times, race officials eventually had to call it a day and cancel the race. Although only the first run took place, the names that topped the leader board proved to be some of the most consistent ones thought the rest of the GS season. With Ligety winning his third GS globe, Svindal getting second place and Richard rounding out the podium, Sölden once again gave a preview of what to expect in the season's ensuing races. As if that wasn’t enough, Jansrud, Janka, Schoerghofer and Hirscher proved they were not at the top by mistake and all finished among the top 10 athletes in the discipline.
This year fantastic weather is to be expected and the Rettenbach glacier is proving to be in better shape than it has been for years. As we saw at the women’s race, the slope is in great conditions.
“Last year I won the first race and I’m very excited to come back here and to begin again the new season. I am in a good shape and have big motivation. It’s always exciting to be here. The course preparation is beautiful and there are great conditions for tomorrow, it’s quite icy but I love it. I have been waiting for this, ” said Cyprien Richard after free skiing on the race hill after the woman’s race Saturday.
We are in for an exciting show. Carlo Janka will be opening the race with bib No. 1 followed by Ted Ligety and Aksel Lund Svindal. Overall champion Ivica Kostelic got a bit unlucky with the bib draw and will be closing the top 15 group. On Sunday the best GS skiers in the world are going to be ready to show us what they have been working on all summer.
Check out in this video what Richard, Fanara and Neureuther had to say about Sunday’s race.
by Ana Jelusic