He has been the top favorite in alpine combined for many years and today, for the first time, Alexis Pinturault can call himself a World Champion in that discipline. With Slovenia's Stefan Hadalin and Marco Schwarz from Austria, two youngsters complete the podium of the World Ski Championships Alpine Combined in Are 2019.
The wind and warm temperatures have affected today’s alpine combined. First because in the morning, the downhill had to be shortened to avoid the exposed parts at the top, and then because in the afternoon, it was difficult to get a hard surface and the course had to be watered and salted to ensure fair conditions.
But in the end, three deserving athletes, who have proven to be excellent overall skiers, are standing at the top of the podium. Alexis Pinturault has already won 7 alpine combined races on the World Cup Tour and claimed the season standings four times. However, at big events, he had never managed to earn a medal in that discipline so far. This winter, the French record holder in terms of number of World Cup wins decided to focus more on the slalom than on speed. A good decision, as he has already celebrated three podiums in that discipline this season. And also in today’s alpine combined it proved to be worth it, as he lays down the second fastest time in the slalom and moves up from the 24th place to World Championship gold.
The fastest in the slalom leg was Slovenia’s Stefan Hadalin. The youngster was coming up strong in slalom this season on the World Cup, with for example the fastest time in the second run in Saalbach-Hinterglemm, where he scored his career best performance with a 8th place in the end. In 2016, at the Junior World Ski Championships in Sochi, Hadalin already claimed the title in the alpine combined, and today he confirmed at the highest level. This silver medal is the biggest highlight to date in the career of the 23 year old, but certainly not the last.
Marco Schwarz is also 23 years young and he started 2019 in the best possible way. He claimed his first World Cup win in the City Event, immediately followed by his first win in the alpine combined in Wengen. Surfing on that successful wave, nothing seems impossible for Schwarz and today, at his second World Championships in career, he collects his first medal. And it may not be the last one, as the Austrian team is pretty strong at parallel events (claimed Silver at the Olympics last year) and Schwarz is sitting in 5th place of the slalom standings at the moment.
Tomorrow, the Åre 2019 World Ski Championships will hold the Alpine Team Event. An exciting parallel format, where athletes race head to head to score points for their nation. The ATE made his debut at the Olympic Winter Games last winter and has been held at the World Championships and the World Cup Finals for several years not. Start is set at 16:00.
Results are available here: Are 2019 AC
Quotes from the Top 3 are available here: Soundcloud