Hirscher unbeatable in Alta Badia
Marcel Hirscher (AUT) skied to his fifth season victory after a fantastic second run led him to the Audi FIS World Cup giant slalom win in Alta Badia (ITA). It was the third straight giant slalom win for Hirscher in Alta Badia, a new record for the Dolomite World Cup venue.
Hirscher edged Norwegian Henrik Kristoffersen by 0.19 seconds and Victor Muffat-Jeandet (FRA) who finished 0.86 seconds behind in third place. In total, Hirscher now has five podiums this season, with four victories under his belt, today’s win adds to his two victories in Beaver Creek (super-G, giant slalom) and another win in Val d’Isere in the giant slalom.
Hirscher turned in the second-fastest time on the second run to power through to the victory. The only man faster was Ted Ligety (USA), who sat well behind the leaders after the first outing, but thanks to an excellent second run, finished in fourth place.
"I skied at my 100% limit in the second run," said Hirscher. "It was difficult snow, not as icy as we're used to here in Alta Badia and I think that Henrik skied a smoother run, but I gave it all my power and in the end I am really happy to come away with the win."
It was a day where it took two fast runs for success as the top three in the first run also ended up on the podium. Muffat-Jeandet had the lead after the first run, followed by Hirscher 0.05 seconds back and Kristoffersen 0.23 seconds behind. Ultimately, the difference was Hirscher’s strength on the bottom portion of the course, where most skiers lost the bulk of their time.
The second place finish for Kristoffersen continues an amazing run of podium finishes for the Norwegian team during the tour of Italy. It was the sixth podium for the Attacking Vikings in the last three days as the tech specialist picked up right where the speed team left off.
"Aksel has five wins now, I have one and two more podiums so the Norwegian season has started pretty good so far, yeah" said Kristofferson. "It was a close battle with Marcel. I'm getting closer and closer, but still he has a little edge on me. Today I am really satisfied. I skied really good, especially the middle part in the second run was really good skiing, I pushed really hard. I've done something that no other Norwegian has done before [winning in Alta Badia] and there have been many amazing skiers from Norway skiing here so I'm pretty proud of myself for that."
Muffat-Jeandet has been the surprise of the season, now with three top-three finishes to his credit including a second place finish in Beaver Creek and a third-place finish in Val d’Isere, both coming in the giant slalom.
"I am getting closer and closer to a World Cup win," said Muffat-Jeandet. "Every race I learn a little more and every race I feel I am getting better. But I am definitely very happy to be on the podium."
Today’s race was the first of three tech races in the next three days. Today, under perfect crisp conditions and sunny skies, the giant slalom kicked off the three-day adventure. Tomorrow is the highly anticipated debut of the parallel giant slalom. The pre-Christmas race schedule will conclude with a night slalom in Madonna di Campiglio.