The conditions were in a complete contraste compared to yesterday and the ladies race. With fog and wind, competitors had to give everything to stay in the race to the podium.
Henrik Kristoffersen: The Norwegian has made it clear for several weeks now that he wants to wear his sponsor, Red Bull, on his helmet. However, the Norwegian team already has Telenor as main sponsor. A conflict started between him and his federation, as they don't allow him to switch. Kristoffersen decided not to take part in the first slalom of the season to show he is not ready to sell.
We thought the time of an evening that Marcel Hirscher wouldn't thump the gates in Levi this morning. Indeed, we learned yesterday that he is suffering from an earache. He finally decided with his staff that his situation was good enough to race. Equal to himself, the Austrian did what he does the best: reap a lot of speed while being agressive on the wall, then be very smooth on the plane section. He was at the top of table after the first run. In second position is his compatriot Marco Schwarz. The young talent stayed in control from the top of the track to the wall and the last plane section.
Felix Neureuther completed the provisional podium. We could see him being disappointed in the result. Indeed, the racer made a few mistakes on the wall. He especially went off the pace, losing the left ski after a gate and then no reaping speed. There's no doubt he won't let this happen on his second run.
In fourth position came Dave Ryding. The rocket impressed everyone, challenging the bests with his bib 21. The British skier showed a huge agressivity on the wall while being on total control.
Notable great runs came from Manfred Moelgg, Michael Matt, Daniel Yule and Mattias Hargin. Respectively 5th, 6th , 7th and 8th after the first run, they all used a lot of strenght from the low body to stay agressive enough.
Dave Ryding started his second run with full commitment. Always close to the gates, we could see his application to do well. The British racer finally finished 6th. This was his first top ten, a great day for him and the british ski federation.
The rise of the day comes to Manuel Feller. The Austrian ended 16th of the first run. Starting very agressively, he gave everything to finally take the provisional lead and stay at the top for a little bit of time. Feller finsihed 5th in the first Slalom of the season.
After 3 seasons, Manfred Moelgg tasted the podium again. The Italian skier stayed dynamic from the top to the bottom, was able to gain speed after the gates. His smile at the end of the race said it all, this is a real accomplishment. It is a real pleasure to see him back on the higher places.
Michael Matt managed to confirm his great first run into a a better second one. The young Austrian signs his first ever podium.
He was not sure if he was going to race this morning, but it was a good thing that he did as he won the Slalom. Marcel Hirscher made a demonstration today on the Levi Black. For his first run, he skied very smoothly, staying agressive on the parts that need it. Hirscher won both runs, as Pinturault in Sölden: the match is launched.
Marcel Hirschers wins the Slalom of Levi (1:44.67) ahead of Michael Matt (+1.30) and Manfred Moelgg (+1.31).