All eyes were on Alexis Pinturault today after his amazing series of four Giant Slalom victories in a row. The crowd was waiting for a 5th success for the in-form French racer but this race was full of surprises. One hour before the start of the first run, snow was falling down heavily in Kranjska Gora, adding to the icy conditions of the track. Conditions which suit pretty well to Marcel Hirscher.
First Run :
Marcel Hirscher set the pace in Kranjska Gora and finished at the provisional first place. The Austrian Skier was eager to stop the domination of Pinturault. He did a great job, skiing well in every important section, not getting thrown around off balance. Hirscher enjoys these icy conditions, his ski style also suits well to these kind of hard races. He skied slightly close to the body, being in a total domination of the track.
In second place after the first round is Alexis Pinturault. The French racer attacked the track with a full commitment and then did some slight faults. He still managed to stay close to Hirscher, finishing at 0.41 seconds of the Austrian. Pinturault is going to be to the fight in the second run as he stated to the French Winter Sports magazine Ski Chrono : « That was tough. There's a match but Marcel Hirscher is a bit ahead. We will see the conditions of the second run. ».
Felix Neureuther was the one to open the start gate today, he finished third of the first run. The German racer stayed calm and smooth on the track. Even if the legs were burning at the end of this long Giant Slalom run, he managed to stay concentrate to do as less faults as possible. He finally ended at 0.65 seconds of Marcel Hirscher.
Second run :
Henrik Kristoffersen signed a smooth second run. The young and talented Norwegian stayed focused, managing to ski an error-free run, to take the provisional lead before the passage of the last 4 skiers in the starting area.
Next to go was Thomas Fanara. He skied the track in his typical style, carrying the arms very low to the snow on the turns. He finally ended behind Kristoffersen.
Felix Neureuther skied his second run as his first one, staying calm, focused and smooth. It unfortunately wasn't enough for him to claim the podium, ending ahead of Fanara.
The crowd and the fans all around the world were watching carefully Alexis Pinturault to know if the young Frenchman could win his 5th Giant Slalom in a row. He skied perfectly the technical section with a full commitment, he crossed the finish line with more than a second of advantage ahead of Kristoffersen, absolutely flying.
One man still was in the starting area, capable to change the provisional hierarchy. Marcel Hirscher did what he does the best. The Austrian stayed calm and focused, he skied beautiful turns and built magnificent technical sections to take the victory.
Final results :
Marcel Hirscher wins the second Giant Slalom of the weekend in Kranjska Gora 0.53 seconds ahead of Alexis Pinturault and 1.59 seconds ahead of Henrik Kristoffersen.
With this victory, Hirscher wins the Giant Slalom crystal globe, his third in the specialty.
The race weekend continues tomorrow in Kranjska Gora with a Slalom.