Unstoppable Kristoffersen claims Schladming Night Race
As usual on the Tuesday after Kitzbuehel, Schladming (AUT) stages the traditional Night Slalom, the sixth slalom race of this year’s Audi FIS Ski World Cup. More than 50’000 people were present to cheer for the 83 athletes from 27 nations that raced today.
After the first run, Germany’s Felix Neureuther was in the lead, thanks to a very strong and flawless performance, red bib holder Henrik Kristoffersen was sitting in third position +1.10 behind and Marcel Hirscher was only 22nd +2.59 behind due to a problem with his goggles.
But instead of destabilizing the Austrian super star, this incident pumped him up for the second run, where he had an incredible run and improved an amazin 20 places to end in second place
"It was a completely aggressive run," said Hirscher. "I decided that it would be better to not finish than ending up with two points for example. I gave my complete maximum to ski in the second run. Conditions were a bit challenging today and that helped me as well to make it possible. It is just a really big present I got today."
Hirscher stood in the lead for along time until last year’s winner Alexander Khoroshilov (RUS) came down. He laid down a strong run, with a very fast finish and ended only +0.16 behind Hirscher.
"The course was really good, as every year, so I was really happy to ski here," said Khoroshilov.
After Khoroshilov, it was up to this year’s king of slalom to prove once again he is the fastest slalom skier. And he did just that. For the sixth time this season, including a current streak of four straight victories after Adelboden, Wengen, Kitzbuehel, Kristoffersen claimed the victory.
"There was this Austrian guy in the start box shouting, 'Ah, Marcel is still in the lead!' so that was a little annoying," said Kristoffersen. "With the way I'm skiing at the moment, I knew that if I skied ok without too many big mistakes, it would be possible. It was really bumpy, but the bottom part was actually pretty good, I could ski normally there, but the top was really rutted. I knew I had to push it the whole way."
The top two finishers from the first run were no threat to this season's slalom aces. Stefano Gross (ITA) struggled to find the right pace and Felix Neureuther (GER) straddled a gate in the final pitch.
Kristoffersen leads the slalom World Cup ranking 180 points ahead of Hirscher and 446 points ahead of Khorohilov. With three more slaloms left this season, it’s will take a lot to catch the Norwegian young gun.
The speed disciplines are in the spotlight again this weekend, with Garmisch-Partenkirchen (GER) hosting a downhill (Saturday,11.30 CET) and a giant slalom (Sunday 10.30-13.30, CET).