Ilka Stuhec of Slovenia has officially returned from injury to rejoin the top ranks of the Audi FIS Ski World Cup, as she won her second race in as many days by taking the Val Gardena Gröden (ITA) super-G on Wednesday. After nearly stumbling while skating to make speed out of the start and losing her line while attacking turns, she skied anything but a perfect run – yet it proved to be perfectly fast against her competition.
In a race separated by mere hundredths of a second, Stuhec claimed the win 0.05 seconds ahead of Nicole Schmidhofer of Austria and Tina Weirather of Liechtenstein who tied for second place. Jasmine Flury of Switzerland missed the podium by one-hundredth of a second, finishing in fourth place at only 0.06 seconds from the lead.
Extremely tight competition among the world’s best skiers made for a highly energetic and entertaining race. Francesca Marsaglia of Italy kept the crowd on the edges of their seats with a blistering run from bib 29 that looked to threaten the podium through the bottom of the track. She produced a sixth-place finish to the delight of the home fans.
In addition to Schmidhofer, three more Austrians finished in the top 10 for a noteworthy team performance.
Super-G standings leader Mikaela Shiffrin opted to skip the event in order to train for the technical races at Courchevel (FRA) this week. Despite her absence, she was able to hold onto the leader bib heading into the next ladies’ super-G at St. Anton (AUT). Ragnhild Mowinckel of Norway is her closest competition with a 25-point deficit to catch the American.
The ladies now shift gears back to technical races heading into the holidays. They will race giant slalom and slalom in Courchevel on 21st-22nd December.
Marcel Hirscher – best Austrian skier ever
The second Audi FIS Ski World Cup slalom of the 2018/19 season took place today in Saalbach-Hinterglemm, replacing the cancelled race in Val d’Isère. Not less than 6500 fans gathered in the finish area and approximately 1500 cheered for their athletes along the course and saw Marcel Hirscher taking home the victory.
After a difficult day yesterday, champion Marcel Hirscher found the right setup today and was able to earn a 63rd World Cup, becoming the best Austrian skier of all times, surpassing Annemarie Moser-Proell and taking the 3rd place in the international all-time ranking.
Loïc Meillard is turning into the Saalbach-Hinterglemm hero. He earned his first podium in career yesterday in the giant slalom and could carry on the momentum to grab another World Cup podium in today’s slalom. The Longines Rising star confirms his enormous potential enters the Top group in both tech disciplines.
In third place, Norwegian Henrik Kristoffersen finished on the podium for the 11th time in a row in slalom. A mistake in the first run and tough course conditions in the second run prevented him from doing better today, but he is very happy to find his way back to the podium and to share it with Marcel Hirscher and Loïc Meillard.
The last men’s World Cup Tour stop before a short Christmas break is the night slalom in Madonna di Campiglio, held on the Canelone Miramonti on 22nd of December.