Marco Schwarz finally ends the negative streak after Marcel Hirscher’s retirement for Austria, winning the Slalom race held in Adelboden and earning the red bib from teammate Manuel Feller.
By Daphne Seberich
Austria’s back. After almost two years, an Austrian skier stands on the highest step of the podium of a technical ski discipline. The last win dates back to the 29th of January when a skier named Marcel Hirscher triumphed in Schladming on home soil. Marco Schwarz finally ended the “Wunderteam’s” curse, a drought that lasted too long for a country whose national sport is Alpine Skiing. The famous Adelboden cow’s bell trophy awarded to Schwarz boosted him in the Slalom standings, where he now is leading.
For only 14 hundredths of a second, Linus Straßer missed out on a back-to-back win after earning his first Slalom trophy in Zagreb. The German is in his best shape and stepping into Felix Neureuther’s steps.
The 2nd runner-up spot went to a brave Dave Ryding, who is still looking to bring the first-ever FIS Alpine Ski World Cup win to England. The veteran stepped on the podium for the second time in his career after earning his last Top-three result four years ago. Only one-hundredth of a second separated Straßer and Ryding.
After a below-par performance by Zenhäusern in Zagreb, the Swiss was expecting more from himself at his home race. The Alta Badia race winner was the first to set a time on the slope, starting with bib number 1, which usually is an advantage in Adelboden.
His time held onto the top spot of the standings, until Sebastian Foss-Solevaag, Marco Schwarz and subsequently, Clément Noël clinched provisional first place in the first run.
Much was expected by Daniel Yule, who won the Slalom held in Adelboden last season. The Swiss accumulated a high delay and only placed 15th after the first run.
Many were surprised by different athlete’s performances, in good and bad ways. Dave Ryding, the British veteran set the best run of his season, only being off 76 hundredths of a second from the top and securing 8th place in the first run.
Manuel Feller, the skier that earned the red bib of the discipline in Zagreb, exited the race at the beginning of his run, losing out on the opportunity to increase his lead in the standings.
Victor Muffat-Jeandet and Alexander Khoroshilov stunned everyone with their results. The Frenchman proved to interpret the “Zielhang” very well, only being 41 hundredths off the fastest time. The Russian, like Ryding, displayed his best performance of this season so far. He ranked 7th in the first run.
Italy’s victory hopes relied on Alex Vinatzer, which unfortunately scored zero points for the second time in a row. He straddled one of the gates but finished his run and was disqualified after the judges reviewed the footage.
Despite excellent conditions and perfect weather, many of the Top-30 struggled in the second run, with nearly a third of the field making major mistakes or failing to finish all together. The famed “Zielhang” in Adelboden, the steep last pitch of the course, was what ultimately made the difference for those sitting in the Top-10, with many making costly mistakes. The course set by Swede Ola Masdal brought more difficulties than the athletes thought.
Only Yule, Matt, Meillard, Straßer, Ryding and Schwarz managed to put together a competitive run, closely battling it out to earn one of the coveted Adelboden cowbells.
Marco Schwarz came out on top and won the first Slalom of his career, despite being on the podium in a Slalom race seven times. He now leads the standings by 16 points ahead of Straßer and has deserved to wear the red bib.
The anonymous race by Pinturault still secured him a 129-points lead in the Overall standings ahead of Kilde.
After hosting three races, the Adelboden weekend is in the books. The Audi FIS World Cup tour will continue in Kitzbühel at the “Streif”, the most coveted Downhill race of the season. The Wengen events were canceled due to an increased number of Covid-19 cases. The Slalom and Downhill that were planned to take place on the Lauberhorn will take place in Kitzbühel. Hopefully, we will be able to see some action in the characteristic Swiss town next year, where some of the most exciting and suspenseful events have been held.
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