It was no surprise that Marcel Hirscher won the World Cup slalom title. When you win four times, finish second four times and third once in nine races you’ve put in a season that’s one placing away from being impossible to beat.
It also shouldn’t be any surprise that the number two slalom skier of the season, German Felix Neureuther won the final race. But the manner in which Neureuther got that win, with a risky line and hard-charging mentality coupled with a fluid form that melded into the rhythm of both courses was extraordinary. It was text-book form for an instruction manual that hasn’t been written yet.
Neureuther appeared surprised himself when he crossed the first run finish line with a healthy .34 of a second margin. That number doesn’t seem that large, but the man he beat, Ivica Kostelic had fired down the Lenzerheide course on St Patrick’s Day in his final run of the 2013 season with a run not even the great Hirscher could beat. Beyond those three the best clockings were three-quarters of a second out.
The top of the course was steep and caused consternation to many of the best slalom racers in the world. Some may have just been playing out the string, thinking more of the beach than the race. Neureuther definitely had his head in the game, despite a crash in yesterday’s GS that reportedly resulted in him taking pre-race injections for pain.
Hirscher was in the lead with a stellar second run that had manufactured speed where others found none. But he had not attacked the treacherous top section with the same vigor as he had the rest of the Silvano Baltrametti track. Neureuther was in attack mode from the start wand and then matched Hirscher’s deft skiing the rest of the way for his second slalom win of the season, the fourth of his career adding Lenzerheide to a list of wins that includes slaloms in Kitzbuehel, Garmisch-Partenkirchen and Wengen.
Kostelic hung on for third, which was enough to move him to third in the final Cup slalom rankings ahead of the fourth finishing (in race and standings) Andre Myhrer, last season’s slalom champion.
The fastest time of the second run came from the first man out of the start house, Japan’s Naoki Yuasa who moved into the top 10.
The biggest celebrations however, were reserved for Hirscher as he was awarded both the slalom globe and, as the racers say, the “big ball,” as the World Cup’s overall winner. It is his second straight overall crown, but his first in slalom.
“It is amazing,” Hirscher said. “It was quite difficult the whole seasons. But I made nearly no mistakes. … Hopefully next year it is nearly the same.”
by Hank McKee
Men’s World Cup Slalom, Finals, Lenzerheide, Switzerland, March 17, 2013
1 Neureuther, Nordica/Nordica/Marker
2 Hirscher, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
3 Kostelic, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
4 Myhrer, Nordica/Nordica/Marker
5 Missillier, Dynastar/Lange/Look
6 Matt, Blizzard/Tecnica/Marker
7 Larsson, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
8 Raich, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
9 Yuasa, Hart/Dolomite/Look
10 Moelgg, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
Men’s World Cup Slalom, Finals, Lenzerheide, Switzerland, March 17, 2013. … It is the 34th of 36 races on the men’s schedule with two cancellations. … It is the ninth and final slalom. … It is the 33rd Cup race hosted by Lenzerheide. … the ninth slalom and the fourth men’s slalom… All three former men’s slalom winners from the site are in the race, Mario Matt (2005), Benjamin Raich (2007) and Giuliano Razzoli (2011).
It is the fifth career World Cup win for Felix Neureuther. … his fourth in slalom (the other in the Munich city event). … and his third this season. … It is his second podium recorded at Lenzerheide, the other a third in slalom March 19, 2011.
It is the 45th career World Cup podium for Marcel Hirscher. … his 22nd in slalom. … It is his 18th podium of the season in 19 races completed (20 of 21 including World Championships). … He was second in both of his races at Lenzerheide this season.
It is the 59th career World Cup podium for Ivica Kostelic. … His 40th in slalom. … It is his eighth podium of the season including a silver medal in combined at World Championships. … It is his first podium at Lenzerheide in five completed races.
Final World Cup Overall Standings: Marcel Hirscher wins his second consecutive overall title 1535-1226 over Aksel Lund Svindal (did not race). … Ted Ligety (DNF 1st) is third at 1022. … Top Canadian is Erik Guay (did not race) in 18th with 378pts. … Jan Hudec finished 35th with 195pts, Manuel Osborne-Paradis 43rd with 165pts, Marco Sullivan 55th with 134pts, Travis Ganong 57th with 121pts, Steven Nyman 59th with 112pts, David Chodounsky 63rd with 105pts, Benjamin Thomsen 77th with 72pts, Tim Jitloff 82nd with 52pts, Michael Janyk 93rd with 39pts, Andrew Weibrecht 101st with 26pts, Ryan Cochran-Siegle 106th with 23pts, Thomas Biesemeyer 110th with 19pts, Will Brandenburg 115th with 16pts, Jean-Philippe Roy 120th with 14pts, Dustin Cook 126th with 12pts, Robby Kelley 133rd with 8pts, Tommy Ford 136th with 5pts, Brennan Rubie 139th with 4pts, Conrad Pridy 141st with 3pts and Jared Goldberg 144th with 1pt.
Final World Cup Slalom Standings: Hirscher wins the slalom title with 960pts, Neureuther is second with 716pts and Kostelic third with 535pts, edging Andre Myhrer by three. … Ligety finishes the season ranked 19th in slalom with 143pts, David Chodounsky 21st with 105pts, Michael Janyk 35th with 39pts and Will Brandenburg is 46th with 16pts.
Final Men’s Nations Cup: Austria takes its 23rd straight Nations Cup 6089-3983 over Italy. … France is third with 3219pts. … The US men finish sixth with 1648pts and Canda tenth with 896pts.
FIS World Cup
March 17, 2013
|Rank||Bib||FIS Code||Name||Year||Nation||Run 1||Run 2||Total Time||FIS Points|
|6||8||50707||s="print1" style="font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; font-size: 9px; line-height: normal; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, Geneva, Swiss, SunSans-Regular; background-color: #f0f0f0; vertical-align: top;">MATT Mario||1979||AUT||1:00.42||53.13||1:53.55||7.46|
|Did not finish 2nd run|
|Did not finish 1st run|