If anyone had picked today’s podium before the Audi FIS World Cup slalom race in Adelboden, they would be a rich person.
In perhaps one of the most surprising and diverse podiums of the season, Austrian Marco Schwarz earned his first career World Cup slalom victory, hanging on for the victory by 0.14 ahead of Linus Strasser and 0.15 seconds ahead of Great Britain’s Dave Ryding.
Schwarz had been the long-suffering bridesmaid in the slalom standings, with seven previous podium finishes in the discipline, but never being able to find the way to the top step. Before today his only World Cup victories came in one Alpine Combined race in Wengen in 2019 and the City Event in Oslo the same year.
But today, when much of the field struggled with the second run set, it was Schwarz who turned in the technically sound run needed to come out on top of the standings.
Meanwhile runner-up Strasser is showing that when it rains it pours. After never having earned a World cup slalom podium in his career, he now has today’s second place finish to add to his victory in Zagreb last week.
Rounding out the podium was veteran Dave Ryding. The lone British entry in most races, Ryding is a familiar face on the tour, but not the podium, where he has earned just one other World Cup slalom top-three finish in his long career, which came four years ago. Ryding was clearly elated with his top-three finish.
Despite excellent conditions and perfect weather, many of the top-30 struggled in the second run, with nearly a third of the field making major mistakes or failing to finish all together. The famed ‘Ziel Hang’ in Adelboden, the steep last pitch of the course, was what ultimately made the difference for those sitting in the top-10, with many making costly mistakes.
Clement Noel (FRA) was in the lead after the first run, but lost a lot of time on the Ziel Hang and finished in eighth place. He fared better than his teammate Victor Muffat-Jeandet (FRA), who sat in second place after the first run, but was one of the many who made a major mistake on the upper portion of the course and fending in last place of those who crossed the finish line.
After hosting three races, the Adelboden weekend is in the books. The Audi FIs World Cup tour now turns its attention a few valleys away where Wengen will host its famous weekend that has something for every ski fan, the famed Lauberhorn downhill race and the technically demanding slalom on Sunday.