Munich City Event: A Happy New Year for Velez Zuzulova and Neureuther!
Munich, Germany - Veronika Velez Zuzulova and local hero Felix Neureuther were the happy winners of the parallel slalom City Event in Munich on New Year's Day!
In an action-packed competition in front of 17’000 cheering spectators in the Olympic Park, the German slalom specialist won the Big Final against Marcel Hirscher, while Slovakia’s Velez Zuzulova beat Slovenian super talent Tina Maze in the ladies' Big Final. In the Small Final, Moscow 2012 parallel event winner Alexis Pinturault (FRA) beat Sweden's slalom specialist Andre Myhrer to finish 3rd. On the ladies' side, Austrian Michaela Kirchgasser claimed her first season podium by beating Finland's Tanja Poutiainen for the third place.
After finally winning her first World Cup in Semmering just before the year's end, Velez Zuzulova began the New Year as she finished the Old one, by taking her second victory in a row in the event that saw 16 top ladies and 16 top men face off each other in thrilling head-to-head format.
“It’s an amazing feeling to have two wins in a row! The first victory is even better because the first time is the first time and I have really enjoyed it. I only did four training runs here on the slope and joked with my coaches that hopefully the other girls would celebrate New Years Eve much more so we would be on the same level," she said.
Winning in front of home crowd, Neureuther was received with loud cheers by the German spectators. For Neureuther the win in Munich is almost a home win, since Neurether is a native of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, which is located just an hour from Munich on the German Autobahn. And for him the win over Hirscher on home snow was a revanche of finishing 2nd behind him just before Christmas in Madonna di Campiglio. He himself set the Munich victory almost on par with his previous two wins, in the Gudiberg slalom in Garmisch and in Kitzbühel (AUT).
Felix Neureuther (GER) commented: “For us German athletes this World Cup is one of the nicest all year. When you stand on top of the Olympic Mountain and see this fantastic crowd it is very thrilling. Thank you everyone who came.“
Neureuther added: “The parallel competitions suit me really well. I like racing these events because you are fighting against each other and it’s motivating! You have to give 150 % in each run otherwise, you are out! The pressure on me was very high since the crowd of cheering spectators was awaiting good results from me. It was a great atmosphere here today!”
Marcel Hirscher was happy with this 2nd place: “This is the first time with more than 15'000 spectators watching a race this season. The race was technically really tough to ski. Felix was unbeatable today. I would need to push much harder at the first gates. For me, Felix is the best starter since we are having these City Events.”
After seven wins in seven tech starts this season, Hirscher scored his eight straight podium in tech events, and stated when asked about what will be next: “For me it’s important to give my personal best every time and if I can do so, I am very happy. I cannot always be on the podium but we will see.”
For Tanja Poutiainen, today's event was the first time racing in a City Event: "New Year, new tricks. It's nice to start the year with this kind of an event and it went surprisingly well although it was my first time racing in this format. I saw I have something left to improve with my starts but when I can do that for the coming races in this format, it will be great for me."
Poutiainen added: "Overall the City Event was absolutely a positive experience especially since I had the chance to race all eight runs. It is an exciting experience to have another athlete on your side and you are well aware of the racing situation at all time. This was an important race for me for the Slalom World Cup standings and I collected some points here. For the small globe all is open so all points are important."
Today's City Event in Munich was the 2nd edition in the German metropolis. On 2nd January 2011, 25'000 spectators saw the premiere, whilst the 2012 edition had to be cancelled due to unseasonably warm temperatures. This year's event too was only possible thanks to impressive efforts by the local Organizing Committee headed by Frank Seipp which relied on the support the Bischofswiesen Ski Club, the organizers of the Kandahar Audi FIS Ski World Cup races in Garmisch-Partenkirchen and the German Ski Association.
The season's 2nd City Event will be staged in Moscow on 29th January 2013, just before the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in Schladming set for 4th-17th February 2013.