The first run of the men’s GS in Adelboden, Switzerland was dominated by the French, which was unusual enough. But by the end of the second run, it was a German winning which was beyond unusual…it was historic.
“This is, I think, the second World Cup victory ever for a German skier in a GS, so this is some historic moment. That I am a part of it, it’s just unbelievable.” said race winner Felix Neureuther. Yep. The only other German men’s GS winner in World Cup history was Max Rieger on March 3, 1973 at Mont St Anne, Quebec. Obviously, then, it was the first German men’s win in Adelboden’s classic GS. And, boy, did Neureuther earn it.
The race was held at a temperature of 55(f) with spectators donning shortsleeves and shorts. The organizers poured salt and chemicals on the snow to try to harden it up, but it was impossible to keep it from breaking down under the pressures of razor sharp skis on the feet of supremely gifted athletes. It was no accident the first skier on course in the first run, Frenchman Thomas Fanara, won the run.
The famous Chuenisbaergli course is steep enough to allow skiers to make up for a mistake, and until Neureuther ran, the second run had been incredibly tight with barely eight tenths separating the top 10 finishers. The fastest had been the fourth starter Luca De Aliprandini, and the leader was former University of Denver skier Leif Kristian Haugen of Norway.
Neureuther, though, was masterful on a day when few others could even approach normal.
“I just tried to ski smart at the right places, and I just pushed really hard. I just skied smooth and then it happened,” he said. “I never thought that I (could) win a GS because I was always better in slalom. Since last year, I thought about it. The other guys, they are so strong, like Ted, Alexis, Marcel and all the others. Today is a perfect day for me.”
Ted, Alexis and Marcel could not match him. Ligety slapped a ski against a gate and the binding released, ending his day barely into his second run. Alexis Pinturault was second after the first run and finished the day in fourth while Marcel Hirscher, though fast and precise, could not match the German’s effort.
“It’s how it goes,” said an obviously deflated Ted Ligety. “(It was) just crappy bad luck. … I bounced into the gate and the ski ripped off… it’s just part of ski racing, but it’s a kick in the groin, that’s for sure.”
Ligety said it was not a surprise that Neureuther pulled off the win. If there was any surprise, it was that the German GS record has been so bad historically.
Fanara held on for second and Hirscher got third keeping him in contention with Aksel Lund Svindall for the overall title and cementing his lead in the GS standings.
The U.S. group had some bright moments, but not at the top of the finish order. Bode Miller leaded in and slid out on his hip in the first run. Tim Jitloff finished 24th on his 29th birthday with a strong first run and Robby Kelley just made the cut for the second run to gain a handful of points and a 28th-place finish.
“I’m pretty happy I was able to make second run in those conditions,” said Kelley. Jitloff noted that the light got flatter in the second run and he had trouble finding the line.
See more pictures from today’s race in our gallery.
Men’s World Cup giant slalom, Adelboden, Switzerland, Jan. 11, 2014
Equipment – Skier, skis/boots/bindings
3 Hirscher, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
4 Pinturault, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
5 Haugen, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
7 Simoncelli, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
10 Raich, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
Men’s World Cup giant slalom, Adelboden, Switzerland, Jan 11, 2014. … It is the 15th of 34 races on the Men’s World Cup schedule. … The fifth of eight scheduled GS’s. … It is the 55th World Cup race hosted by Adelboden… the 44th GS.
It is the seventh career World Cup win for Felix Neureuther, his first in GS…. It is just the second GS win for a German male, the previous captured by Max Reider at Mont Ste Anne, March 3, 1973. … The Germans had two men on the Adelboden GS podium a season ago, Neureuther in third and Fritz Dopfer in second. … It is the second win of the season for Neureuther who won the Zagreb slalom moved to Bormio and held Jan. 6.
It is the fifth career World Cup podium placing for Thomas Fanara, all of them in GS. … It is his second GS podium at Adelboden having score third Jan. 8, 2012. … It is his second podium of the season having also finished second at Val d’Isere Dec. 14.
It is the 52nd career World Cup podium placing for Marcel Hirscher in 91 completed races. … It is his seventh podium in eight completed races this season.
It is the second best Adelboden result of Tim Jitloff’s career. … It is the second career scoring result for Robby Kelley, both of them coming at Adelboden.
Aksel Lund Svindal (12th in race) maintains the lead of the World Cup overall standings 652-575 over Marcel Hirscher … Ted Ligety (DNF 2nd) is third overall with 333pts. … Erik Guay (did not race) is eighth overall with 261pts. … Bode Miller (DNF) is tenth at 230pts.
Hirscher leads the GS standings 380-305 over Alexis Pinturault (fourth in race). … Ligety is third with 260pts. … Trevor Philp (did not race) is the top Canadian in the GS standings in 45th with 5pts.
Austria leads the men’s Nations Cup 2421-1702 over France. … Italy is third with 1449. … The U.S. is fifth with 866pts and Canada ninth with 652pts.
|Rank||Bib||FIS Code||Name||Year||Nation||Run 1||Run 2||Total Time||Diff.||FIS Points|
|5||18||421669||HAUGEN Leif Kristian||1987||NOR||1:18.62||1:17.22||2:35.84||+1.24||7.14|
|11||30||990116||DE ALIPRANDINI Luca||1990||ITA||1:20.06||1:16.38||2:36.44||+1.84||10.59|
|12||7||421328||SVINDAL Aksel Lund||1982||NOR||1:17.96||1:18.53||2:36.49||+1.89||10.88|
|Did not start 1st run|
|Did not qualify for 2nd run|
|Did not finish 2nd run|
|Did not finish 1st run|
|71||30149||SIMARI BIRKNER Cristian Javier||1980||ARG|
|47||192504||MERMILLOD BLONDIN Thomas||1984||FRA|