A little wet weather did little to stop Marcel Hirscher as he managed to pull off yet another come-from-behind win in front of a crowd of 11,000 in Adelboden, Switzerland. The Austrian won the men’s slalom to sweep the weekend’s races after also emerging victorious in Saturday’s giant slalom at the Swiss venue.
After near-perfect conditions for the GS on Saturday, the clouds rolled in overnight and brought the precipitation with it as the thin line between snow and rain was teetered on from the morning’s inspection until the last car rolled out of the parking lot in the finish area.
Hirscher sat in third place after the first run, sitting behind Norwegian rival, Henrik Kristoffersen, and Austrian teammate, Marco Schwarz. Schwarz found himself leading a World Cup slalom for the second race in a row after he also won the first run in Zagreb, Croatia, last week. Unfortunately, the same fate Schwarz suffered in Zagreb waited for him in the second run as the 23-year-old straddled a gate on the final pitch, giving the victory to Hirscher. Hirscher was joined on the podium by France’s Clement Noel in second — his first World Cup podium — and Kristoffersen in third.
“I tried my best like every race,” Hirscher explained. “It’s hard; you have to push yourself really hard and especially if you are on the Tour already for 10 years like I have been. If you are standing with your back against a wall, it gives you a lot of energy because you know exactly that there is just one opportunity. I love those situations because you have no chance for any tactics and it’s easier to have a clear decision.”
Hirscher was particularly impressed by the performance by the 21-year-old Frenchman.
“I told Austrian media already three years ago that this French guy will be really a big champion someday,” he added.
Noel, who is also the reigning World Junior Champion in slalom, finished just off the podium in fourth last week in Zagreb and was excited to stand in his first World Cup winners’ presentation at such a storied venue. Although nearly everything about Sunday was wet and nasty, the racing track itself stayed relatively good with the water-injected ice from earlier in the week holding up well despite the inclement weather.
“It feels really great,” he said after the race. “It’s amazing because I was really close to the podium before and now it’s my first one. In Adelboden it’s amazing because it’s such a great atmosphere and I like this place, it’s cool. The slope and the snow was really hard even if the visibility and weather was not so cool for us. If the snow is hard, it’s perfect, so it was great conditions.”
Kristoffersen suffered costly mistakes in both runs and was visibly upset with himself after crossing the finish in third place after his second run. Even though he is still searching for his first win of the season, the Norwegian isn’t planning on changing his approach in the coming races.
“I’m not surprised with the result because of the speed I have in slalom but I am lucky that I am two-hundredths in front of Alexis [Pinturault] when I do a mistake,” he explained. “I did two big mistakes, one in the first run and one in the second run and then it’s all gone. It’s better to ski really fast and do mistakes than just ski slow, way better to do it this way and then when we eliminate the mistakes then I think we’ll be up there.”
The two American starters on Sunday, Luke Winters and Ryan Cochran-Siegle, both did not qualify for the second run.
The men’s Tour now heads to Wengen, Switzerland, for the iconic Lauberhorn downhill, slalom, and combined races Jan. 15-20.
- Marcel Hirscher (AUT)- Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
- Clement Noel (FRA)- Dynastar/Lange/Look
- Henrik Kristoffersen (NOR)- Rossignol/Rossignol/Look
- Alexis Pinturault (FRA)- Head/Head/Head
- Ramon Zenhaeusern (SUI)- Rossignol/Rossignol/Look
- Elias Kolega (CRO)- Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
- Victor Muffat-Jeandet (FRA)- Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
- Daniel Yule (SUI)- Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
- Jean-Baptiste Grange (FRA)- Rossignol/Rossignol/Look
- Stefan Hadalin (SLO)- Rossignol/Rossignol/Look
For complete FIS results, please click here.