Conditions for the final men’s giant slalom before World Championships were just plain tough on Sunday. The injected Kandahar slope was bumpy, icy and unforgiving on athletes who did not have the perseverance to charge all the way to the finish line. While the sun shined to warm the crowd, shade covered the slope. The scraping of the skis against the snow was loud.
Marcel Hirscher of Austria masterfully raced the course, boasting a combined time of 2:39.95. This marked his 20th career World Cup giant slalom win and Austria’s 100th giant slalom victory–the first nation to reach that milestone in this discipline. He was followed by Matts Olsson of Sweden in second and Stefan Luitz of Germany in third.
Coming into the start gate for the second run, Hirscher had a 0.36 second lead over then-leader Olsson. During his run, he did something miraculous. The Austrian did not just double his lead. He came through the finish line, leading by 1.5 seconds.
“For sure, I take this victory, and I’m super happy,” Hirscher said. “It was a really tough racing day today here in Garmisch as all the races this weekend so far, and luckily, back on the podium in GS as well, and that is very good for today, and I’m already looking forward to Sweden.”
Coming in behind the Austrian, Olsson earned his first career World Cup podium result. He was one of the few athletes able to improve his position between runs.
“First run, I had a great feeling from top to bottom,” he shared. “Sure, I was a little bit surprised that I was third. Second run was, for sure, tougher from the conditions. It was bumpy. It was dark.”
Olsson added that when he saw the green light at the bottom, none of that mattered. He was just happy. The giant slalom specialist recently came back from an ACL injury in right knee after sitting out the 2015-16 season for surgery and recovery. A German rounded out the top three. Luitz earned his fourth career World Cup podium in front of a home crowd.
Tommy Ford was the top American for the day, coming in 14th place. Teammate Tim Jitloff also grabbed a top 30 finish, finish in 20th position. Brennan Rubie, Ryan Cochran-Siegle and David Chodounsky did not qualify for a second run while Hig Roberts did not finish first run.
Hirscher continues to have a staggering lead in the men’s overall standings with 1260 points, more than 400 points ahead of Norwegian Henrik Kristoffersen, who finished seventh in the giant slalom. Hirscher also leads the giant slalom standings with 533 points, 94 points ahead of Pinturault.
The men and women both head to Stockholm, Sweden, for a city event under the lights on Jan. 31 before downhill training runs begin at World Championships in St. Moritz on Feb. 6.
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- Marcel Hirscher (AUT) – Atomic / Atomic / Atomic
- Matts Olsson (SWE) – Head / Head / Head
- Stefan Luitz (GER) – Rossignol / Look / Rossignol
- Alexis Pinturault (FRA) – Head / Head / Head
- Mathieu Faivre (FRA) – Head / Head / Head
- Felix Neureuther (GER) – Nordica / Nordica / Marker
- Henrik Kristoffersen (NOR) – Rossignol / Look / Rossignol
- Justin Murisier (SUI) – Volkl / Dalbello / Marker
- Florian Eisath (ITA) – Blizzard / Tecnica / Marker
- Luca De Aliprandini (ITA) – Salomon / Salomon / Salomon
|Rank||Bib||FIS Code||Name||Year||Nation||Run 1||Run 2||Total Time||Diff.||FIS Points||WC Points|
|10||10||990116||DE ALIPRANDINI Luca||1990||ITA||1:22.32||1:20.48||2:42.80||+2.85||17.46||26.00|
|11||11||421669||HAUGEN Leif Kristian||1987||NOR||1:21.14||1:21.83||2:42.97||+3.02||18.50||24.00|
|13||17||422139||KILDE Aleksander Aamodt||1992||NOR||1:21.87||1:21.39||2:43.26||+3.31||20.28||20.00|
|Did not start 1st run|
|Did not qualify for 2nd run|
|53||990051||BOSCA Giulio Giovanni||1990||ITA|
|Did not finish 2nd run|
|Did not finish 1st run|
|66||54106||BREITFUSS KAMMERLANDER Simon||1992||BOL|