An exicting giant slalom season came to an end today in Soldeu El Tarter, where Alexis Pinturault won the race and Marcel Hirscher collected the globe.
New winners, new podium contenders, a very dense field with lots of close races. The core discipline of alpine skiing delivered an interesting season, where for the sixth time, Marcel Hirscher earned the crystal globe.
The Austrian champion finished 6th of today's race, but he had already clinched the discipline globe earlier in the season. Three wins in Val d'Isère, Alta Badia and Adelboden and three 6th places as his worst results. That's the pace and the consistancy he showed this season. The Olympic champion and silver medalist of the World Championships in Åre 2019 is not very satisfied with his skiing but super happy that the performance was enough for another globe and to take the second place in terms of number of GS globes.
But the hero of the day was Alexis Pinturault. The Frenchman skied to his first giant slalom win since Val d'Isère 2017 and to a 23rd World Cup win. He is now the most successful French athlete of all times in terms of World Cup wins. In Soldeu, Pinturault definitely found the feeling on this course that was more compact than expected given the warm temperatures. He had a +0.88 advantage from the first run and managed to hold on to it in the second run, finishing +0.44 ahead of the Swiss young gun Marco Odermatt.
Odermatt, who claimed not less than five Junior World Champion titles, just celebrated his first World Cup podium in Kranjska Gora last week-end and was able to reiterate the exploit at the World Cup Finals in Soldeu. This season, the 21 year old established himself within the Top 30 in the overall and in the super-g standings, while he finishes in 8th place of the giant slalom ranking. A promising athlete, that many qualify as a future Overall winner already.
The third place of the day went to Slovenia’s Zan Kranjec, the winner of the Saalbach-Hinterglemm giant slalom. His constant results throughout the season allowed him to grab a 4th place in the World Cup giant slalom standings.
Despite finishing only 11th, the World Champion of the discipline defended his second place in the season ranking. With two wins in Bansko and Kranjska Gora, it was actually his best giant slalom season to date, as he only had one World Cup win in that discipline so far. The Norwegian tech whiz collected his 12th Crystal globe medal, and this with only 24 years.
Tomorrow, the final event of the Audi FIS Ski World Cup 2018/19 will take place in Soldeu. It will be a slalom on the Avet slope, starting at 10:30 and 13:15.
Results are available here: Soldeu GS
Quotes from Marcel Hirscher and Alexis Pinturaults are available here: Soundcloud