It seems like Austria’s Marcel Hirscher is able to power his way to wins by sheer force of will these days. After an utterly dominant performance on Sunday in the giant slalom in Alta Badia, Italy, Hirscher followed up with a commanding victory under the lights on Monday night in the parallel giant slalom.
Hirscher made quick work through the heats and barely looked to break a sweat apart from a brief hiccup out of the start that was quickly made up for mere gates later in his semifinal dual with Sweden’s Matts Olsson. Hircher’s previous best finish in the fledgling discipline of PGS was third place in last year’s edition in Alta Badia. As it currently stands, Hirscher has won in every event currently contested on the men’s tour except for downhill and combined (Hirscher is a World and Olympic Champion in combined but his best finish in a World Cup is second place, which he has finished four times).
The surprise of the night, however, was supplied by Frenchman Thibaut Favrot. The 23-year-old entered the race seeded as only the 26th-best skier but managed to pick off such names as Norway’s Henrik Kristoffersen in the quarterfinals and compatriot Alexis Pinturault in the semifinals en route to his second-place finish behind Hirscher. Favrot’s previous best World Cup finish was 17th place in last season’s Garmisch-Partenkirchen GS.
“These were two pretty hard days, that’s for sure,” Hirscher said after the race. “It’s working out amazing at the moment and hopefully I can take this form with me for the races in Saalbach. It is the absolute will to win, but, I mean, I have had this will all through the years. This year, all the materials are working out amazing and physically, I feel everything is good.”
Interestingly, Hirscher also voiced his opinion on parallel events in general and why he has not been very fond of these types of events over the years.
“Sometimes it’s more about luck than being better than someone else,” he said. “This is the reason why I’m not the biggest fan of those events. These events used to be steep and turny and now all the decisions are close by under one-tenth of a second. This can be sometimes hard to see a difference for the spectators and for us it is sometimes more luck than being better than someone else.”
Favrot followed up a strong 18th-place finish in Sunday’s GS with his impressive performance on Monday and now looks to take his newfound momentum into this week’s races in Saslbach, Austria.
“This is the second time for me coming here and it’s a special place because it’s where I scored my first World Cup points,” Favrot shared. “Yesterday, I had a good result and was happy and I looked to have as much fun as possible today. I really was able to ski free and score this great result.
Pinturault scored his second third-place finish in a row on Monday night, also giving the French team back-to-back second and third place results after Pinturault and Thomas Fanara were also on the podium in Sunday’s GS.
“In parallel, it is quite difficult because there is always a surprise every time and it’s really hard to know which guys are fast and which aren’t, so that’s the reason why it makes it really special,” he said after the race. “I made such a good weekend here and I’m really happy about it, it’s a step up and that’s pretty good for me.”
The Untied States was represented by Ryan-Cochran Siegle and Tommy Ford. Although the pair was defeated in the first two rounds, there was strong skiing that both can build upon in the coming days and weeks of racing. Cochran-Siegle fell to Pinturault by only 0.08 seconds in the first round and Ford was defeated by Olsson by 0.64 seconds in round two. Ford and Cochran-Siegle finished in 16th and 17th place overall, respectively.
The men’s tour now heads to Saalbach-Hinterglemm, Austria, for slalom and GS races Dec. 19-20.
- Marcel Hirscher (AUT)- Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
- Thibaut Favrot (FRA)- Dynastar/Lange/Look
- Alexis Pinturault (FRA)- Head/Head/Head
- Matts Olsson (SWE)- Head/Head/Head
- Stefan Luitz (GER)- Rossignol/Rossignol/Look
- Gino Caviezel (SUI)- Dynastar/Lange/Look
- Aleksander Aamodt Kilde (NOR)- Head/Head/Head
- Henrik Kristoffersen (NOR)- Rossignol/Rossignol/Look
For complete FIS results, please click here.