Hirscher leads Matt for Aus­trian 1-2 fin­ish at World Cup slalom

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

It took Aus­tria’s Marcel Hirscher just two races to get back to where he fin­ished each of the past five sea­sons - on top of the men’s World Cup over­all stand­ings.

Hirscher over­came an ill­ness on the eve of the slalom opener yes­ter­day to lead team­mate Michael Matt for an Aus­trian 1-2 fin­ish. The five-time over­all cham­pion fin­ished a huge 1.30 sec­onds ahead of Matt to clinch his 40th ca­reer win. It was the first Aus­trian 1-2 fin­ish in a World Cup slalom since Hirscher beat Michael Matt’s older brother, Mario, at the same venue three years ago. Man­fred Moelgg of Italy was 1.31 sec­onds back in third for his first podium fin­ish in nearly three years, while Ger­many’s Fe­lix Neureuther came an­other 0.10 fur­ther be­hind in fourth. “Phys­i­cally it went very well. I have no pains. Yes­ter­day it was re­ally bad but this morn­ing I knew it would work out,” said Hirscher, who suf­fered from an in­flam­ma­tion of the mid­dle ear.

He skipped Satur­day’s train­ing and de­cided only in the morn­ing hours be­fore the race to start. He headed back to his ho­tel for treat­ment im­me­di­ately af­ter com­plet­ing his first run. Hirscher over­took Alexis Pin­tu­rault on top of the over­all stand­ings. The French­man, who beat the Aus­trian to win the sea­son-open­ing GS last month, fin­ished 1.87 be­hind in 11th. Hirscher has 180 points, 56 clear of Pin­tu­rault.

Hirscher’s vic­tory also put the Aus­trian level with Pirmin Zur­briggen on the all-time win­ners list. Only four skiers have won more races in the 50-year his­tory of the World Cup Inge­mar Sten­mark (86), Her­mann Maier (54), Al­berto Tomba (50), and Marc Gi­rardelli (46).

“I felt no pres­sure at all,” Hirscher told The As­so­ci­ated Press. “For me per­son­ally, I have won al­ready a lot of races and I am done with ‘I have to win races.’”

Matt, who im­proved from sixth to sec­ond for his first ca­reer podium re­sult, said he “was more ner­vous for my first run than for my sec­ond as I knew by then that ev­ery­thing was OK.” Marco Sch­warz, who trailed Hirscher by just 0.21 af­ter the first run, slid off the course and didn’t fin­ish his fi­nal run, but an­other Aus­trian, Manuel Feller, took fifth.

Aus­tria’s slalom team lost sev­eral big names as Ben­jamin Raich, Mario Matt and Re­in­fried Herbst all re­tired in the past two sea­sons. But Hirscher said the many young and up­com­ing tal­ents on the team help him to fur­ther im­prove. “It’s per­fect in train­ing,” said Hirscher, who has won 19 slaloms in his ca­reer. “It wasn’t easy for me in the be­gin­ning but the young guys re­ally give me mo­ti­va­tion. That’s truly su­per.” Hirscher didn’t want to give his huge win­ning margin too much mean­ing as his main ri­val from last sea­son, Hen­rik Kristof­fersen, skipped the race. “One guy was miss­ing, the fastest from last year. But it was a great race,” Hirscher said. Kristof­fersen, who won six slaloms last year to claim the dis­ci­pline ti­tle, sat out the race amid a dis­pute with the Nor­we­gian ski fed­er­a­tion over spon­sor­ship rights.—AP

LEVI: First placed Aus­tria’s Marcel Hirscher poses for a photo with a rein­deer at the end of an alpine ski­ing men’s World Cup slalom, in Levi, Fin­land, yes­ter­day.— AP

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Kuwait

© PressReader. All rights reserved.