KITZBUEHEL, Austria — With a 0.42-second advantage over Sweden’s Mattias Hargin after the first run, the safe bet would have been on Marcel Hirscher to lock up the win on Austrian snow in the Kitzbuehel slalom on Sunday. But Hargin, determined to bounce back from last week’s Wengen debacle and a string of disappointing second runs, flipped the table on Hirscher to secure his career-first World Cup win and fourth podium.
After the race, Hirscher called Hargin’s performance “one of the best slalom runs” he’s ever seen. Hirscher certainly didn’t lose the race; Hargin won it by grinding to perfection down the Ganslern and propelling himself to a cushy half-second victory. He and Hirscher were followed not too far back by a competitive Felix Neureuther, fresh off a slalom win in Wengen, who again charged hard in his second run to put pressure on the final racers.
“I tried really hard in the last few races to ski well in tracked courses (second run), and I didn’t really make it,” said Hargin. “When I saw how Felix skied second run in Wengen, I was impressed. Today I just tried to not think so much.”
When asked if he was disappointed to finish runner-up, Hirscher said it’s a stupid question.
“It is an unbelievable feeling to finish second in the Kitzbuehel slalom,” Hirscher replied. “To make 160 points (this weekend toward the overall) is really cool. I want to congratulate Mattias for an unbelievable second run. I’ve never seen a guy take so much risk over all those rolls. It was one of the best slalom runs I have ever seen. And, yes, Felix, you did as well a great job.”
“Mattias (Hargin) showed you can risk a lot on the Ganslern and that’s why he deserves the victory,” said Neureuther. “I think Marcel and I tried to ski a little bit too technical. Mattias just wanted the victory the most. But I am very, very happy to be up on the podium here in Kitzbuehel. It’s one of the great slaloms of the year.”
American David Chodounsky says he’s been looking for a break — and he certainly didn’t get one today. Chodounsky has made a habit recently of throwing down a very strong first run but not being able to capitalize for one reason or another in the second run. Today, his pole got knocked out his hand 20-or-so seconds after kicking out of the start.
“My mindset was ‘I’m going for it,’” Chodounsky said. “I was ready to go and wanted to have a good run. When I lost my pole, it was really very difficult to make it down, especially here in Kitzbuehel. There’s a lot of terrain and tough visibility.”
Chodounsky did in fact make it down and finished a respectable 26th, all things considered.
“I’m still skiing well, so I will try to bring that to Schladming,” said the Dartmouth grad.
After finishing with a time roughly in the middle of the flip, Ted Ligety was disqualified after the first run for incorrect passage through a vertical single gate in a rhythm section. Ligety skied the gate as a delay, going around both gates and subsequently not crossing the plane. The disqualification caps off a tough weekend in Kitzbuehel and a tough stretch of racing for Ligety, who will skip the slalom at Schladming on Tuesday and head home to Utah for training on North American snow prior to the World Championships.
See more photos from this race here.
By Hank McKee
- Hargin, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
- Hirscher, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
- Neureuther, Nordica/Nordica/Marker
- Razzoli, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
- Dopfer, Nordica/Nordica/
- Khoroshilov, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
- Kristoffersen, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
- Gross, Volkl/Tecnica/Marker
- Pinturault, Head/Head/Head
- Larsson, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
Men’s World Cup slalom, Kitzbuehel, Austria, Jan. 25, 2015:
- It is the fourth and final event of the 75th Hahnenkamm. … The 24th of 37 races on the men’s World Cup calendar and the eighth (seventh held) of 11 scheduled slaloms with one cancellation. … It is the 160th World Cup race set at Kitzbuehel. … The 49th slalom. … Felix Neureuther is the defending champion.
- It is the first career World Cup win for Mattias Hargin. … His previous best had been second in slalom at Val d’Isere Dec. 15, 2013. … His best previously this season had been fourth at both Are and Zagreb in slalom. … The winning margin is .49 of a second. … Top five finishers are within the same second. … Top 15 within two seconds. … Hargin is the 59th Swede to gain a World Cup win.
- It is the 69th career World Cup podium result for Marcel Hirscher. … It is his 11th podium in 12 completed races this season. … It is his second podium of the weekend having also placed second in combined.
- It is the 35th career World Cup podium placing for Felix Neureuther. … It is his fourth Kitzbuehel podium result.
- It is the 19th career World Cup scoring result for David Chodounsky … his second at Kitzbuehel. … It is his sixth score of the season, fifth in slalom.
- Hirscher maintains the lead of the World Cup overall standings 996-834 over Kjetil Jansrud (did not race). … Alexis Pinturault (ninth in race) is third overall with 640pts. … Ted Ligety holds a place in the top 10, in 10th with 420pts.
- Felix Neureuther holds the lead of the slalom standings 480-456 over Hirscher. … Fritz Dopfer (fifth in race) sits third in slalom with 349pts. … David Chodounsky is the top U.S. skier on slalom list in 22nd with 56pts. … Julien Cousineau leads Canadians in slalom in 42nd with 15pts.
- Austria leads the men’s Nations Cup 3446-2395 over France. … Italy is third with 2228pts. … The U.S. men are seventh with 1298pts and Canada ninth for 427pts.
|Disqualified 1st run|
|Did not qualify for 2nd run|
|54||421669||HAUGEN Leif Kristian||1987||NOR|
|Did not finish 2nd run|
|Did not finish 1st run|
|75||30388||BIRKNER DE MIGUEL Tomas||1997||ARG|