Riis-Johannessen clinches ladies' European Cup Overall title
Last week-end was not only the World Cup Finals in Aspen, but the European Cup season also came to an end in the Italian resort Innichen – S. Candido, where the concluding tech events were held. After a total of 73 races, Norwegian Kristina Riis-Johannessen and Swiss Gilles Roulin topped the rankings and claimed the Overall titles.
The performances on the European Cup are also important in regard to a personal qualification for the Audi FIS Ski World Cup 2017/18. The Overall winners are automatically qualified for every event, while the Top 3 of each discipline’s ranking is qualified for that particular discipline. Here is a short summary of all the athletes we will encounter on the World Cup next year.
Part I: Ladies
The downhill has been dominated by young Sabrina Maier (AUT, 94), who podiumed in each of the five Europa Cup downhills she started in, claiming two wins in Davos and Crans-Montana, two second places and a third place. She is followed by a more experienced athlete, Laura Pirovano (ITA, 87), who participated in all the downhills of the season and never skied out of the Top 10, claiming one win in Crans-Montana and two further podium spots. Chritina Ager (AUT, 95) finished third of the standings, thanks to a great season start with two wins in Saalbach, and solid results (2nd, 4th and 6th) in three other downhills this season.
After six races in Super-G, Nadine Fest (AUT, 98) is the one walking away with the season title. She is the only one who was able to grab two wins in the discipline this season and also claimed the Junior World Champion title. Close behind, Overall European Cup winner Kristina Riis-Johannessen (NOR, 91) clinched the second place of the standings with a strong season finish, including a win in Chatel and two third places. As last season, Anna Hofer (ITA, 88) takes third place in the season ranking. Despite not starting in Kvitfjell and not finishing in Davos, the South Tyrolean managed to hold on to that podium placement thanks to her good results in the four last races of the season (2nd, 3rd, 4th and 6th).
The giant slalom field was topped by Kristin Lysdahl (NOR, 96), who claimed seven (out of 9 races) podiums including two wins, and made her first appearance and first points on the World Cup Tour this season. In second place, Jessica Hilzinger (GER, 97) scored her first European Cup points this season. She struggled to get in the pace at the beginning of the season, but from mid-January on, she became constant and never left the Top 6 again, even celebrating a win in Zinal. Elisabeth Kappaurer (AUT, 94) rounds out the podium, thanks I.a. to a win in Innichen – S. Candido. The polyvalent skier scored in every discipline on the European Cup Tour this season, and participated in 13 World Cup races.
In slalom World Cup skier Anna Swenn-Larsson (SWE, 91) earned the discipline title . After a bad season start on the World Cup (7 DNFs), she decided to focus on the European Cup and never skied out of the Top 9 in the races she participated in. A win in Göstling / Hochkar and three further podiums may give her confidence for next season, especially as she won a personal qualification spot in the World Cup. Katharina Gallhuber (AUT, 97) could not step on the highest spots of the podium but earned a total of four 3rd places. She also won the Parallel Slalom in Kronplatz, which allowed her to grab second place in the discipline ranking. In third place, Marina Wallner (GER, 94) took the win in Melchsee-Frutt and finished second twice. By finishing all the slaloms she participated in, she held on to the season ranking podium and will be able to attend all the World Cup races next year, trying to improve her impressive seventh place form Squaw Valley.
Three alpine combined have been held this season, and the three spots on the season ranking are for the three athletes who could win a race in that discipline. Nadine Fest (AUT, 98) was the most constant, with two 3rd places besides her win. She also became Junior World Champion in the discipline, even though the format is slightly different at JWCS. Bouncing back and forth between Europa Cup and World Cup, Rosina Schneeberger (AUT, 94) participated in two of the three alpine combineds, but her win and her second place ensured her a second place in the season ranking. The Overall winner Kristina Riis-Johannessen (NOR, 91) is the third athlete to podium in that discipline, thanks to a win on home-soil at the beginning of the season, a sixth and an eleventh place.