After Adelboden’s Giant Slalom of Men's Alpine Skiing World Cup was cancelled just over a month ago, International Ski Federation searched for a new place to replace it. As it turned out Hinterstoder was the chosen location. This is just the first race of the busy weekend ahead of us, as skiers will have another Giant Slalom on Sunday and a Super G race on Saturday.
Alexis Pinturault set the fastest time of the first run on an early Friday, continuing his great form in the last couple of races. The closest time to Pinturault was set by young German Stefan Luitz, who was able to score some great first runs in the past, but was usually unable to finish second runs without big mistakes. Giant Slalom World Cup standings leader Marcel Hirscher, however, did not impress with the first run and took the fourth position, 0.87 seconds behind the French leader.
Second run started three hours after the first and offered a nice opportunity to the ones with early start numbers to take a huge boost up the rankings. It seemed like Luca De Aliprandini took the most use of the early start number, starting from the 26th position to eventually placing seventh. Andre Myhrer also managed to ski himself into the Top 10, despite starting from the 23rd position in the second run.
In fact, De Aliprandini held the top position all the way until Felix Neureuther’s performance. The friendly German, who held the sixth position after the first run. Despite coming into the finish area with a green light, Neureuther did not stay at the top for long. Henrik Kristoffersen managed to improve Neureuther’s time. Young Norwegian was visibly thrilled at the end, but it was not enough to build enough lead in front of Hirscher’s performance. Hirscher’s attacking performance brought him all the way to the top and shortly after guaranteed him a podium, after Thomas Fanara failed to beat him time.
With only two skiers still at the top, it was Luitz’s time to prove himself on the course. With many failed attempts in the past, the pressure keeps building on Luitz every time he steps on the start with a high rank. However, today it seemed that the pressure did not bother him. Despite the shaky run and not taking the lead in the finish area, he still seemed glad to come into the fourth position. That guaranteed him a Top 5 position at the end, as only Pinturault was left in the start house.
Pinturault managed to win the race, despite making a huge mistake mid-course and even potentially injuring himself. Despite looking in pain at the finish area, he happily waved to the crowds, who did not seem particularly bummed that their countryman Hirscher was left hanging at the second position.
The course did not seem to prove too difficult for the racers, as there were very few racers that were unable to finish. Two of them, however, were two Frenchmen, who were ranked on second and third place in World Cup Giant Slalom standings before this race. Victor Muffat-Jeandet and Mathieu Faivre were the two most known casualties of the day and their mission to finish on the World Cup Giant Slalom a bit more difficult after this Giant Slalom. However, gladly for them, they will have another chance already on Sunday.
Hinterstoder Giant Slalom Results:
1. Alexis Pinturault (FRA) – 2:31.72
2. Marcel Hirscher (AUT) – +0.79
3. Thomas Fanara (FRA) – +0.92
4. Henrik Kristoffersen (NOR) – +1.32
5. Stefan Luitz (GER) – +1.41
2016 World Cup Giant Slalom Standings (6/10):
1. Marcel Hirscher (AUT) – 481 points
2. Alexis Pinturault (FRA) – 330 points
3. Victor Muffat-Jeandet (FRA) – 297 points
4. Henrik Kristoffersen (NOR) – 291 points
5. Felix Neureuther (GER) – 264 points