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Para Alpine: The Battle for the Overall Ranking is Launched between Cuche and Bauchet

Jan 26, 2024·Para Alpine
Robin Cuche (SUI), Arthur Bauchet (FRA) and Markus Salcher (AUT)

The best para-alpine skiers in the world gathered again in Veysonnaz (SUI) for a full week of competitions. After the cancellation of the planned competitions in Spain, in La Molina, due to a lack of snow, the Swiss Alps resort was able to modify its "technical" program, consisting of two giant slaloms and two slaloms, by offering a Super-G in place of the originally scheduled second slalom.

The two days of giant slalom saw a clear domination from the Aigner family in the Vision Impaired women's and men's categories. The duo Veronika and Elisabeth (her guide) Aigner delivered the best time in each run, winning the first two races with a very comfortable lead. The remaining podium places were fiercely contested between Menna Fitzpatrick (GBR), Alexandra Rexova (SVK), and Martina Vozza (ITA) in the first race. Fourth after the first run, the Italian, accompanied by her guide Ylenia Sabidussi (ITA), recorded the second-best time in the second run to climb to the third step of the podium. With the third-best time in each run, the Slovak duo Alexandra Rexova and her guide Matus Duris finished second in the first race. This was a performance they managed to repeat the following day. Finishing just outside the podium after the first day, Menna Fitzpatrick (GBR), accompanied by her guide Katie Guest (GBR), took advantage of the withdrawal of the Italian duo to secure the bronze medal in the second giant slalom.

Certainly inspired by the performances of his sisters, Johannes Aigner (AUT), accompanied by his guide Nico Haberl (AUT), also achieved a double victory in giant slalom. The young Austrian initially took the lead over the Polish Michal Golas, accompanied by his guide Kacper Walas (POL), who moved from fourth to second place at the end of the first day. Bronze medalist in the first giant slalom, the Canadian duo Kalle Ericsson and his guide Sierra Smith finished second the next day, ahead of Hyacinthe Deleplace (FRA) and his guide Roy Piccard (FRA).

Vision Impaired podiums GS 1 - Veysonnaz (SUI)
Vision Impaired podiums GS 1 - Veysonnaz (SUI)

In the Women Standing category, the leader of the Giant Slalom World Cup, Ebba Aarsjoe (SWE), did not falter, winning all the giant slalom runs. Meanwhile, the French team secured three additional medals thanks to Aurélie Richard (FRA), twice second, and Marie Bochet (FRA), third in the first giant slalom. The podium on the second day was completed by Anna-Maria Rieder (GER). In the men's category, a Francophone battle raged again in the Standing category. Victorious on the first day thanks to the lead gained in the first round, Robin Cuche (SUI) was beaten by his runner-up Arthur Bauchet (FRA) the next day. Canadian Alexis Guimond completed the podium on both occasions.

In the Women Sitting category, the experienced Anna-Lena Forster (GER) once again led the way. Behind her, Barbara Van Bergen (NED) won silver twice, first ahead of American Laurie Stephens, and then ahead of Spanish Audrey Pascual Seco. The leading roles in the Men Sitting category were contested between Italy, Norway, and the Netherlands. René De Silvestro (ITA) won the first race ahead of Jesper Pedersen (NOR), fourth in the first round, and Jeroen Kampschreuer (NED). The Dutchman won silver in the second race behind the Norwegian and ahead of the Italian.

Aurélie Richard (FRA), Ebba Aarsjoe (SWE) and Marie Bochet (FRA)
Aurélie Richard (FRA), Ebba Aarsjoe (SWE) and Marie Bochet (FRA)

Experienced technicians, all the winners of the women's giant slalom races also triumphed in Wednesday's slalom. In the Vision Impaired category, Georgia Gunew (AUS), accompanied by her guide Ethan Jackson (AUS), secured her first podium of the season by finishing third behind Alexandra Rexova (SVK) and Veronika Aigner (AUT), once again imperious.

In the men's category, Giacomo Bertagnolli (ITA) and his guide Andrea Ravelli (ITA) won ahead of Kalle Ericsson (CAN) and Hyacinthe Deleplace (FRA) in the Vision Impaired category. Leader of the previous events, Johannes Aigner (AUT) was disqualified. In the Men Standing category, Swedish Aaron Lindstroem stepped onto his first podium of the season thanks to an excellent second round which saw him rise from fifth to second place. Arthur Bauchet (FRA) claimed another victory and Robin Cuche (SUI), third, another podium. On fire during the second round, Jeroen Kampschreuer (NED) claimed victory in the slalom in the Men Sitting category ahead of a struggling René De Silvestro (ITA) on the second course and his compatriot Niels De Langen (NED), who posted the second-best time in each run.

René De Silvestro (ITA), Jeroen Kampschreur (NED) and Niels De Langen (NED)
René De Silvestro (ITA), Jeroen Kampschreur (NED) and Niels De Langen (NED)

A high-level and highly selective Super-G (15 DNFs) served as the conclusion to this intense week of racing. In the Women Vision Impaired category, Alexandra Rexova (SVK) and her guide Matus Duris (SVK) finished strongly, winning ahead of the Italian pair Martina Vozza and Ylénia Sabidussi and the British pair Menna Fitzpatrick and Katie Guest. In the absence of the leader in their category, Marie Bochet and Aurélie Richard secured a French double in the Women Standing category. Dutchwoman Claire Petit completed the podium and won her first medal of the season. Unstoppable, Anna-Lena Forster (GER) added another World Cup victory to her record in the Women Sitting category, ahead of Barbara Van Bergen (NED).

In the Men Vision Impaired category, an Italian-Austrian duel was anticipated. Ultimately, it was the Italian pair of Giacomo Bertagnolli and his guide Andrea Ravelli who emerged victorious, with a 64-centimeter lead over the Austrians Johannes Aigner and Nico Haberl. An Italian team that would then record another victory thanks to René De Silvestro, victorious in the Men Sitting category ahead of Takeshi Suzuki (JPN) and Nicolas Bisquertt Hudson (CHI). Finally, the biggest suspense of the week took place in the Men Standing category as victory was decided by only one hundredth of a second between the top two contenders Robin Cuche (SUI) and Arthur Bauchet (FRA). Luck favored the Frenchman this time, allowing him to take the lead in the overall classification of the category ahead of his biggest rival. Keep an eye out in Cortina d'Ampezzo next week for further developments!

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