An excerpt ofthe full interview held with Denise Karbon for Ready Set Sport
Denise Karbon, an Italian skiing legend, has spoken with Daphne Seberich for Ready Set Sport about her career, her most memorable success and her passion about skiing. The excerpt of the interview was featured on Episode 4 of the Fresh Air Podcast on February 25th, 2021.
Manuel Feller ended the 2020/2021 FIS Alpine Ski World Cup on a high note, conquering the Lenzerheide slope in a thrilling battle for the win.
By Daphne Seberich
Manuel Feller closed the 2020-21 FIS Alpine Ski World Cup season in top form by winning the last Slalom race of the season at the finals in Lenzerheide.
Feller, who was only in sixth place after the first run, had a nail-biting experience in the leader’s chair as the last five men descended the slope. In the end, he staved off two Frenchmen to hang on for the victory, topping Clément Noël by a slim 0.08 seconds and Overall World Cup winner Alexis Pinturault by 0.11 seconds in a very tight race.
The small slalom globe was already awarded heading into the final race as Feller’s teammate Marco Schwarz wrapped up the honors in Kranjska Gora. Schwarz had a successful season, conquering the Small Slalom Crystal Globe and finishing in third place in the Overall World Cup standings.
Wunderteam athlete Schwarz set the bar for the next competitors with a time of 00:52.79. The winner of the Kranjska Gora Slalom Clément Noël started on the back foot, setting red intermediates throughout his run. On the mellowest part of the slope, he managed to catch up some hundredths against the Wunderteam athlete, but it wasn’t enough to earn the leadership of the race.
Zagreb winnerLinus Straßer, who was not in his prime performance, still managed to stay close to the top positions, placing in fourth. Henrik Kristoffersen’s performance was sub-par, securing the last place with 1.72 seconds of delay. Manuel Feller only managed to place in fifth.
Swiss youngster Loïc Meillard was racing to secure third place in the Overall standings against the provisional leader of the race, but his performance wasn’t enough to attack the Austrian’s position.
Photo credits: SciareMag, The Indian Paper, RSI, Rheinische Anzeigeblätter, La Razón & LeNouvelliste.ch
Cortina 2021 silver medalist Adrian Pertl had an impressive performance, dethroning Ramon Zenhäusern from the provisional podium position. Only one-hundredth of a second separated the two athletes.
Overall Crystal Globe winner Alexis Pinturault didn’t take too many risks during his attempt at the leadership of the race. 1.09 seconds of delay put him in eighth place.
Giant Slalom specialist Filip Zubcic, who I had the pleasure to interview in Alta Badia (click here for the video interview), just managed to cross the finish line in the Top-10.
Alex Vinatzer, the Val Gardena rising star, had a great start to his run but progressively lost out on a major result. 1 second of delay put him in front of Pinturault in eighth place. His teammate Manfred Mölgg was on a roll in the most technical part of the course. A too-pronounced lean made him crash and miss out on potential points.
Kicking off the second run, the legendary French skier Jean-Baptiste Grange said goodbye to racing with a farewell performance that moved everyone. The sport lost one of the biggest Slalom champions. In his 197 World Cup starts, Grange won one Slalom title and 9 World Cup wins. He also accomplished to earn 2 World Championships gold medals in Garmisch-Partenkirchen 2011 and Vail/Beaver Creek 2015.
Stefan Hadalin was the first one to actually compete. A time of 1:49.75 set the bar for the athletes still at the starting gate. With over 71 hundredths of advantage, Christian Hirschbühel dethroned the Slovenian provisional leader but the following competitor Luca Ärni was on fire and served the Wunderteam athlete over six-tenths of advantage.
Henrik Kristoffersen and Filip Zubic, who had a huge advantage against provisional leader Ärni, couldn’t do much to contrast his remarkable performance, finishing respectively fourth and fifth in the standings.
Frenchman Pinturault gave it all in his performance. In his attempt, he drastically increased his advantage over Ärni intermediate by intermediate, finishing his run being over a second faster than the provisional leader. Alex Vinatzer managed to be just two tenths behind Pinturault, which was good enough to beat Loïc Meilliard for second place by one-hundredth.
Manuel Feller was on a rocket ship. 11-hundredths of advantage brought him to the top of the standings. Zenhäusern, who was chasing the fourth consecutive podium position, incredibly made a mistake and straddled a gate. Third, after the first run, Adrian Pertl crashed as well, missing out on a podium position. Clément Noël came the closest to beating Feller, with only eight-hundredths separating the two athletes.
With a 94 hundredths advantage, Schwarz had the task to beat his teammate Feller. A crucial mistake on the mellow part of the slope ended the Austrian champion’s winning chances, who completed his second run attempt in sixth place.
With all the globes decided heading into the final race of the season, the biggest storyline of the day was the duel between the Swiss and Austrian men for the Team Trophy, given to the men’s team with the most World Cup points throughout the entire season. It was a tight race, but in the end, Feller’s victory wasn’t enough to make up the difference as the Swiss earned the men’s trophy in addition to the women’s Team Trophy and Overall Team Trophy.
Also decided in the race was the Longines Rising Star trophy, which went to Alex Vinatzer thanks to his fourth-place finish.
This race concluded a highly contended 2020/2021 FIS Alpine Ski World Cup men’s season. What can we expect in the future from these brilliant athletes? Fans can’t wait to see them back on the slopes in the fall!
Youngster Alice Robinson breaks a record that stood unbeaten since the ’80s: scoring her third career win before turning 20.
By Daphne Seberich
Alice Robinson triumphed at the Giant Slalom finals held in Lenzerheide. The Kiwi youngster, who already managed to impress everyone watching at home with her wins in Sölden and Kranjska Gora in 2020, breaks an unbeaten record since the ’80s. Who could say to have already three career World Cup wins at 19? Legends like Lindsey Vonn and Nicole Hosp came close to breaking this myth but couldn’t quite achieve to make it in the history books with this statistic under their belt.
The young Kiwi topped the Lenzerheide podium, with Mikaela Shiffrin and Meta Hrovat completing the top-three. An outstanding second run allowed the youngster to clinch the win of the race.
“I wasn’t happy at all with my first run,” said Robinson to FIS. “So I just thought I have to go full gas and give it all my energy in the second run since it was the last of the season I gave every bit of energy and power that I had.”
Robinson debuted in the FIS Alpine Ski World Cup only two seasons ago, impressing from the get-go. On her debut at the Andorra finals in 2019, she scored her first podium, clinching second as the Junior World Champion invitee.
Federica Brignone kicked off the race with a time of 1:12.47 Although the Italian wasn’t satisfied with her performance, Lara Gut-Behrami didn’t even end her run. Some speculated that it was an act of protest for the canceled speed events in Lenzerheide that, if held, could have potentially changed the Overall Crystal Globe win in favor of the Swiss. This assumption has been denied by the Swiss ski federation. American Mikaela Shiffrin beat the Italian with a 1.39 advantage at the finish line.
The Overall Crystal Globe winner Petra Vlhova didn’t have her best performance and ended 1.83 seconds behind the lead. Swiss speedster and Saturday’s third-place winner Michelle Gisin was the athlete closest to Shiffrin’s mark with an 81 hundredths delay from the top.
The Giant Slalom Crystal Globe winner Marta Bassino was incredibly quick during her run. The Italian found the perfect race line and speed to finish only 10 hundredths behind the blistering time set by Shiffrin.
Kranjska Gora’s third-place winner Meta Hrovat was the surprise of the first run, as her intermediates were green throughout her attempt. At the finish line, a one-tenth of a second delay put her in ex aequo with Marta Bassino in second.
New Zealand’s youngster Alice Robinson, who came back to the podium in Jasna, had an outstanding performance, finishing in fourth.
After the inversion, the second run began with Ragnhild Mowinckel’s attempt at the leadership. With an overall time of 2.25.02 the Norwegian set the bar for the next competitors. Cortina Downhill World ChampionCorinne Suter managed to increase her advantage over Mowinckel, crossing the finish line with a 77 hundredths advantage.
American Nina O’Brian blew it out of the water, incrementing her advantage over Suter intermediate by intermediate. Her overall performance allowed her to earn the provisional lead being over 99 hundredths ahead of the Swiss.
Elena Curtoni was hoping for a career-best result in Giant Slalom but the interpretation of the last part of the slope was not good enough to take over the leadership. 14-hundredths, although, allowed her although to stay close behind the American. Polish skier Maryna Gasienica-Daniel had an outstanding performance, serving almost a second of delay to O’Brian. Petra Vlhova barely missed out on the leadership by only two-hundredths of a second.
The biggest surprise was Tessa Worley, who despite making a major mistake in the middle part of the course still managed to recover over eight tenths, beating Gasienica-Daniel for the leadership of the race. Swede Sara Hector then took over the top spot of the competition, crossing the finish line with six-tenths of advantage.
Federica Brignone was hoping for a comeback to break a record for Italy: becoming the only Italian skier to win a race in Giant Slalom for six years in a row. 72-hundredths of advantage over Hector earned her the leadership, but she still had six competitors to beat.
Katharina Liensberger didn’t manage to dethrone Brignone but earned the second spot of the ranking. Two-hundredths of a second separated Michelle Gisin and the Italian superstar after her second run attempt.
Alice Robinson was a rocketship. She managed to let her ski run loose, maximizing speed and fluidity of movement. An astonishing advantage of 1.29 won her the top spot of the race. Red bib wearer Marta Bassino couldn’t beat the Kiwi skier, accumulating an excessive delay that allowed her to only place fifth.
Meta Hrovat couldn’t manage to beat Robinson as well. She still secured although the runner-up position with 48 hundredths of delay. American superstar Mikaela Shiffrin couldn’t score the top spot of the standings either but was still content with second place.
This race concluded a highly contended 2020/2021 FIS Alpine Ski World Cup women’s season. What can we expect in the future from these brilliant athletes? Fans can’t wait to see them back on the slopes in the fall!
Katharina Liensberger takes the Slalom Crystal Globe home in a fiery battle against Shiffrin and Vlhova for the title. After nine years of title-drought for the Austrians, the 2021 discipline’s World Champion finally put a stop to the curse.
By Daphne Seberich
Katharina Liensberger is the 2021 FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Slalom champion. The Austrian skier won for the first time in her career the coveted Slalom Crystal Globe in a fiery title race to two martians of the discipline: Shiffrin and Vlhova.
The Slalom championship was wide open coming into this race, with Katharina Liensberger and Mikaela Shiffrin following closely behind Petra Vlhova in the provisional lead.
Liensberger, although, had a brilliant end to her season. She won for the first time in her career at Cortina’s World Championship’s Slalom event. Soon after, the Austrian was unstoppable. A win in Åre followed swiftly in March before coming to the finals a weekend later in Lenzerheide. She proved to be a step ahead of her competitors yet again, crushing any chances at the title and at the win they might have had. Katharina Liensberger deservingly triumphed at the last race of the 2021 season.
“That I can say I was good enough to win the slalom globe, that is fantastic,” said an overjoyed Liensberger after the race to FIS. “I don’t think I can ask for anything more or that it can get any better.”
American Shiffrin managed to score second place ahead of Swiss Michelle Gisin in third, but both athletes had an abysmal delay towards the dominating leader of the race Liensberger. Over 1.24 and 1.95 seconds divided the duo from the top of the leaderboard.
To kick the finals off, Laurence St. Germain set the bar for the other competitors with a time of 55.07 after the first run. Kristin Lysdahl managed to dethrone the provisional leader by crossing the finish line with 50 hundredths of a second advantage.
The Åre and Cortina 2021 Slalom winner Katharina Liensberger blew it out of the park. Seven-tenths separated her from the other two competitors. Mikaela Shiffrin couldn’t do anything against the Austrian dynamite. Nine-tenths of delay placed her only in third after the first run.
The 2021 Junior Slalom World Champion Sophie Mathieu had the chance to debut in the World Cup finals, placing last in the first run. She opened the second leg and finished her attempt with a time of 1:56.66. Katharina Gallhuber took over the leadership of the race with over 3.53 seconds of advantage. The Slovenian Andreja Slokar then beat the Austrian to the best time of the run. She managed to recover over eight positions and beat athletes like Lena Dürr, Chiara Mair and Federica Brignone.
Irene Curtoni descended a World Cup slope for the last time in her career, retiring from competitions in her farewell run in Lenzerheide. The 35-year old, who competed in the FIS Alpine Ski World Cup for thirteen years, scored two remarkable podiums. In 2012 she earned her first career podium in Ofterschwang’s Giant Slalom, where she took third place. Another impressive result was the Parallel Slalom event held in Courchevel, doubling down on her runner-up trophies.
As she was about to end her farewell run, Curtoni straddled a gate right at the finish line and was disqualified from the race. The Italian, although, was content with her performance and, surrounded by her teammates and sister Elena, she said goodbye to professional skiing.
Thanks to only one-hundredth of a second of advantage, Paula Moltzan put an end to Slokar’s comeback. Hers although was cut short by the impressive run of Swede Sara Hector.
Petra Vlhova was racing for the Slalom and Overall Crystal Globe. Although she finished two-hundredths of a second behind the provisional leader, her result secured her the first World Cup title in Slovakia’s history. She managed to break a record for her country and herself.
The Swiss Michelle Gisin then beat Hector by over 1.16 seconds to end Vlhova’s possibilities at the Slalom Crystal Globe. Mikaela Shiffrin took the opportunity of scoring points against the Slovakian by earning the provisional lead of the race while still having a shot at the Slalom championship.
Katharina Liensberger was, although, on another planet. With an incredible advantage of 1.24 seconds against Shiffrin, the Austrian scored her third race win of the year and brought the Slalom Crystal Globe back to her home country after nine years. Austria also breaks the record for most female athletes winning the specialty cup with eight.
Vlhova clinching the Overall Crystal Globe put an end to every title contention, as the last championship discipline event of the season, Sunday’s Giant Slalom, was already in Marta Bassino’s hands.
“This season for me was really difficult. I did a lot of races and it was very long,” said Vlhova to FIS. “But now I can say ‘I did it’. Coming from Slovakia, I don’t have a big team. We’re not a big ski nation, so to bring the Globe home means a lot to me and my country. I think I need time to realize everything, but I look forward to bringing the Globe home and celebrating with my friends and family.”
Nevertheless, the last race of the season will bring a spectacular title race of the 2021 FIS Alpine Ski World Cup to an end. The final Giant Slalom will kick off a long break before coming back to racing in the fall.
Alexis Pinturault won the last Giant Slalom of the season in Lenzerheide in commanding fashion. In addition to that, he also won for the first time in his career both the Small and the Giant Crystal Globe — all that on his 30th birthday. It couldn’t get better than this for Pinturault.
By Daphne Seberich
The Giant Slalom season couldn’t have ended better for Alexis Pinturault. After many seasons of coming close to winning the Small and Giant Crystal Globes, the Frenchman was due to finally bring those titles home. Already after the first run, it was almost certain that the newly turned 30-year-old would triumph in his discipline in commanding fashion.
But the titles didn’t come easily. Only 25 points separated Alexis Pinturault and Marco Odermatt for the big Crystal Globe. On the day of his 30th birthday, the Frenchman had the big task to prove himself worthy of winning the Giant Slalom Crystal Globe, as well as the overall championship.
“I was really tired after the World Championships and struggled the last few weeks,” said Pinturault after the race. “After Kranjska Gora, I was really frustrated. And Marco was getting really good results, so I felt the pressure. Today, it was clear what I had to do – I actually felt more pressure in Kranjksa than I did today”, the Frenchman told FIS.
Closing off the podium were Filip Zubcic in second and Mathieu Faivre in third. Another Giant Slalom 1-3 for France after Bansko in February.
Lenzerheide was troubled by the weather conditions all weekend long. FIS even had to take the difficult decision to cancel the speed disciplines’ finals. A very controversial and potentially disruptive conclusion, as both Overall championships for men and women, were still undecided.
It was especially tough for Lara Gut-Behrami, who had her two main disciplines races stripped away from her to earn the Giant Crystal Globe against Slovakian Petra Vlhova. The Swiss had the chance to take the title home for the second time after 2016, but the FIS decided to not reschedule the canceled races, as stated in the finals regulations.
With the blistering time of 1:01.19, Frenchman Pinturault hypothecated his win and potential titles already after his first run. No one could’ve come close to his achievement on the tricky Lenzerheide course. Zan Kranjec was suffering the difficulty of the Swiss slope, crossing the finish line 1.48 seconds behind Pinturault.
Marco Odermatt was in big trouble after his run. 1.66 seconds of delay only secured him the last spot in the rankings. He had a lot of catch-up to do to have a chance at the globe, but the Swiss is famous for his comebacks to the top positions. He never scored worse than fifth place during the whole Giant Slalom season.
Filip Zubcic, who mathematically still had the chance at the Small Crystal Globe, was the best after Pinturault at the finish line, dethroning Kranjec from second place. The Bansko winner and Cortina 2021 World ChampionMathieu Faivre was not on his A-game. Over 1.53 seconds of delay towards his invincible teammate didn’t score him the best possible result ahead of the second run.
Second in the last Giant Slalom of Kranjska Gora Loïc Meillard was the first athlete to exit the race prematurely. A hole on the course deviated his path and made him lose control over his skis. The not optimal conditions of the course debilitated the Swiss’ performance on home soil.
Photo credits: Taiwan News, News Beezer, Agence Zoom, Rai Sport, LaPresse.ca and Taiwan News
Thibaut Favrot had the same mishap as Pinturault in the first Bansko race. He lost one of his poles mid-race and still managed to score third place with a 1:31 second of delay. The Cortina 2021 Giant Slalom silver medalist Luca De Aliprandini had his best performance in the World Cup season, managed to dethrone Favrot from provisional third place.
The former holder of the small Giant Slalom Crystal Globe Henrik Kristoffersen was struggling to finish his run. He was the first athlete to do worse than Marco Odermatt. All descended athletes still had a chance at a podium, as the times were not much apart from each other.
Stefan Brennsteiner was the surprise of the first run being the only one to get under the second of delay at the finish line. On the other hand, Marco Schwarz, troubled by back pain, couldn’t score a good result, placing provisionally last.
The 2021 Junior World Champion Lukas Feurstein kicked off the second run after the inversion of twenty, setting the bar for the other competitors with a time of 1:14.96. Manuel Feller managed to beat the young Austrian’s time but wasn’t very satisfied by his result as it was just a slight improvement from the best time scored by Feurstein. Although his run was characterized by a major mistake at the end, Adam Zampa took over the lead of the race.
Giovanni Borsotti incremented his advantage intermediate by intermediate, crossing the finish line 1.39 seconds ahead of the provisional leader Zampa. Marco Schwarz dethroned the Italian by beating his time by only one-hundredth of a second. Soon after, German Stefan Luitz improved the Austrian’s best result by 34 hundredths. Henrik Kristoffersen then put the short leadership of Luitz to an end.
Marco Odermatt had to face the toughest challenge of his career to date: recover over 1.66 seconds against first-run leader Pinturault. He increased his advantage over Kristoffersen in the first section of the course, but the mellow part of the slope decreased his speed dramatically. The result of his run was not what he expected, finishing in third behind Kristoffersen and Luitz. Teammate Gino Caviezel then took over the lead with a seven-hundredths advantage over the Norwegian.
Frenchman Mathieu Faivre blew it out of the park with his incredible performance of the second run. 79-hundredths allowed him to place provisionally in first. His teammate Favrot was just 59 hundredths behind him in second. De Aliprandini then dethroned the French to the runner-up position.
Filip Zubcic had the run of his career. He incremented his advantage over Faivre intermediate by intermediate. One hundredth at the finish line allowed him to take over the leadership of the race.
Alexis Pinturault did what he had to do at the end of his run and became on his 30th birthday the winner of the race, the Giant Slalom Small Crystal Globe and the Overall Crystal Globe earner, the biggest achievement for a skier’s career. These achievements were a long time coming for the Frenchman, as his past seasons were mainly dominated by martian Marcel Hirscher. Last year, he had a shot at the Overall title as well, but the cancellation of the remaining races of the 2019/2020 season due to the ongoing pandemic cut his chances short.
One race was still left for the 2020/2021 championships. Could Alexis Pinturault close his season off with another success?
Mathieu Faivre completely turned his season around after the 2021 Cortina FIS Alpine World Ski Championship wins, dominating the Giant Slalom discipline. In only twelve days, the Frenchman has won two out of three competitions, scoring a podium in all of them.
By Daphne Seberich
Bansko day two. A perfect day with perfect weather saw the reigning Giant Slalom World Champion Mathieu Faivre annihilate his competition. The Bulgarian ski resort hosted an exciting race for the athletes and viewers at home, with the Top-10 battling it out for valuable FIS World Cup points.
After finishing in second place in Saturday’s Giant Slalom, Mathieu Faivre earned his second victory in 12 days, topping Switzerland’s Marco Odermatt by 0.75 seconds. It was the Frenchman’s second career World Cup victory as he has put together the strongest three races of his career with three straight podiums, including the World Championship gold.
Thanks to his seventh World Cup podium of the season, 23-year-old Marco Odermatt made up some lost ground in the challenge for the Overall Crystal Globe, where Bansko’s third-placed athlete Alexis Pinturault commands. The Frenchman has a 210-point lead over the Swiss.
Kicking things off in the first run, the Swiss Loïc Meillard set the bar for the other competitors with a time of 1:11.45. Zan Kranjec couldn’t keep up with the youngster, setting red intermediates throughout his leg. 44 hundredths of a second of delay from the provisional leader secured him second place after two athletes.
Cortina 2021 Giant Slalom World Champion Mathieu Faivre was always behind the time set by Meillard. Impressively, the Frenchman managed to recover six tenths in the lowest part of the piste, earning the provisional lead over the Swiss. Giant Slalom standings leader Alexis Pinturault disappointed, as opposed to his teammate Faivre, ending his run 79 hundredths of a second behind in third.
Saturday’s Bansko winner Filip Zubcic, who’s only 22 points behind Giant Slalom standings leader Pinturault, had the worst possible run we could’ve imagined. At the start of the steepest part of the Bansko slope, the Croatian leaned too deep into one gate, falling with the body towards the snow. He still managed to stay inside of the course set by the Swedish ski national coach Ola Masdal, but his delay was over three seconds.
Third-ranked in the Giant Slalom standings, Marco Odermatt had the same goal as Zubcic: beating Alexis Pinturault. The Bulgarian track, although, proved to be tough for the Crystal Globe contenders. Odermatt only managed to finish in fifth, 1.2 seconds behind the provisional leader Faivre. Frenchman’s teammate Thibaut Favrot then dethroned the Swiss after his run by being one-hundredth of a second ahead of Odermatt.
Speaking of Italian, Luca De Aliprandini, who won the silver medal in the technical discipline on home soil, was not performing as well as in the first Bansko race. 2.21 seconds of delay only secured a provisional Top-10 finish. 6th in Saturday’s Giant Slalom event Manuel Feller, just managed to squeeze between his teammate Schwarz and Filip Zubcic in 14th place. 3.07 seconds of disadvantage from the lead was a disappointing result for the “Wunderteam” skier.
The surprise of the first Bansko competition Stefan Brennsteiner, who managed to score a podium for Austria in Giant Slalom for the first time after the Hirscher era, scored a Top-10 finish.
Same Torsti, who was the bib number 48 wearer and managed to qualify for the inverted session, started the second leg as first. Alex Hofer, who scored a first Top-30 career finish, managed to earn the provisional lead from Finn Torsti by 51 hundredths. A struggling Victor Muffat-Jeandet had to be content with only second place after his run.
Veteran Manfred Mölgg had his comeback, beating his South Tyrolean teammate Hofer by 63 hundredths of a second. Hannes Zingerle, who I interviewed in the Alta Badia race in December (click here for the full video interview), had a really strong performance. He managed to recover a two-tenths disadvantage to finish in first. A provisional 1-2-3 podium result for Italy, until Ivan Kuznetsov from Russia took over the lead of the race.
Swiss Daniele Sette blew it out of the park, crossing the finish line with over 8 tenths of a second ahead of the Russian leader. But his biggest threat was Filip Zubcic, who was set to make a strong recovery to score a Top-10 finish. The goal was to reach ninth place to not lose out on too many points for the Giant Slalom Crystal Globe contention. Unfortunately, Zubcic made a very costly mistake in the final part of the slope that prevented his comeback. His performance was only good enough for second place.
The Swiss provisional leader Sette recovered over eight positions in the second run, a remembrance of Stefan Hadalin’s performance on Saturday. He beat successful athletes like Filip Zubcic, Manuel Feller and Stefan Luitz. His leadership came to an end, as Marco Schwarz crossed the finish line 4 hundredths ahead of Sette’s best time.
Even though Gino Caviezel suffered from a critical mistake in the top part of the course, the Swiss was setting green intermediates throughout his run. The last section of the piste was unfortunately not fast enough to dethrone the Austrian provisional leader. Similar problems occurred to Luca De Aliprandini, who was set to take over the leadership, but too many mistakes prevented him to do so. He finished his run in ex aequo with Caviezel in third.
Photo credits: Hola News & NeveItalia
Henrik Kristoffersen managed to end his attempt one-tenth ahead of Schwarz, but Austrian teammate Stefan Brennsteiner set the perfect run, serving over one second to the Norwegian superstar. His impressive Bansko weekend proved to be the “Wunderteam” athlete’s revelation. Even Alta Badia podium scorer Justin Murisier couldn’t keep up with Brennsteiner’s performance.
Marco Odermatt, who never finished worse than fifth this season in Giant Slalom, didn’t disappoint. 39 hundredths earned him the honor to sit on Audi’s red leader chair. The goal was to recover 4 tenths over Alexis Pinturault, who was third after the first run. He came very close to that result. Favrot and Kranjec couldn’t beat Odermatt’s performance, securing a Top-4 outcome ahead of the Giant Slalom standings leader.
Alexis Pinturault had to be ahead of the Swiss to secure his position in the rankings. His run was mind-blowing, as he seemed to almost lose both his poles like in the first Bansko event. Unfortunately for the Frenchman, the performance was only good for second place, 0.09 seconds behind the Swiss leader.
With over 1.2 seconds of advantage over the provisional leader Odermatt, Mathieu Faivre had an easy task and he never gave the impression of any possibility of losing the race. 0.75 seconds at the finish line secured him the win. In only two days, Faivre scored 180 points valid for the standings.
The rankings are extremely close when it comes to the Giant Slalom Crystal Globe. The same two men of the Overall standings are battling it out with only 25 points between them. Trailing behind is Bansko’s Saturday event winner Filip Zubcic with a 64-point deficit from the top of the leaderboard.
The Giant Slalom athletes will have one last chance at victory in Kranjska Gora before the finals taking place in Lenzerheide from March 15th-21st. Who will have the upper hand in this three-way battle to the top?
Lara Gut-Behrami can’t stop and won’t stop winning. The ultimate speed machine scored back-to-back wins in Val di Fassa, securing her lead at the top of the Overall standings.
By Daphne Seberich
Another day, another victory for Lara Gut-Behrami. The Swiss speed athlete dominated the second Downhill race in Val di Fassa, Italy. The Passo San Pellegrino course, which hosted the 2019 FIS Alpine Junior World Championships, was a replacement for the Olympic Test events in Beijing, which were canceled due to the pandemic.
Back-to-back wins seem to be the “Gut-way” of doing things. She’s completely commanding the Super G standings, with four events out of five won in a row, not to mention her incredible World Championships gold medal in Cortina. Can she recover and conquer the Downhill Crystal Globe as well?
Resilient teammate Corinne Suter managed to score a back-to-back podium result, although improving the position. On Friday’s race, the Swiss speedster earned third place. This time, she was just behind unbeatable Gut-Behrami in second, 32 hundredths off the pace. The reigning Downhill World Champion probably expected a victory from this speed weekend but can still consider herself pleased with the results.
Concluding the top-three, Kira Weidle stood on the lowest step of the podium for the third time in her World Cup career. The German Cortina Downhill silver medalist seemed to be in her best physical condition after her breakthrough on the Olympia Delle Tofane course.
To kick the race off, Elena Curtoni set the time to beat at 1:26.54. Three seconds slower than the winner’s time the day before. Jasmine Flury didn’t have a hard time beating the Italian’s performance. She took over the provisional lead of the race.
Breezy Johnson needed a podium result to still have a chance at the Downhill small Crystal Globe. A too pronounced lean towards a gate on the steepest part of the slope provoked her crashing into the barriers. A mistake that proved to be fatal for Johnson’s standings.
The Swiss Giant Slalom specialist Michelle Gisin seemed to be ahead of teammate Flury throughout her run, posting green intermediates. Only one-hundredth of a second of advantage aided her to dethrone the provisional leader.
2021 Downhill World Champion Corinne Suter blew it out of the park, serving her teammates Gisin and Flury over 49 and 50 hundredths of advantage. After five racers, the competition saw an all-Swiss podium, but Kajsa Vickhoff Lie ended the streak by placing behind Suter in second.
Friday’s Val di Fassa winner Lara Gut Behrami was just on another planet. Her advantage over provisional leader Suter increased intermediate by intermediate. The quality of her skiing was just unlike any other. Only injured Sofia Goggia could have attempted to beat the Swiss speed specialist.
Cortina Downhill Silver medalist Kira Weidle was skiing a clean racing line, but a little bit more aggressiveness was necessary on the Passo San Pellegrino slope. The German managed to recover over three tenths in the final part of the piste, earning a place on the lowest step of the podium.
After the tenth racer, Federica Brignone, the standings were in favor of the Swiss, with all of their athletes placed in the Top-6. The Italians were the worst team on home soil, being respectively all in the last three positions of the rankings.
Val di Fassa runner-up Ramona Siebenhofer attempted back-to-back podium positions. She came short of third place, losing out on Weidle’s position by eight-hundredths of a second.
The best Italian on home soil in Friday’s race, Laura Pirovano, proved to be Italy’s only hope for a good result, placing fifth in ex aequo with Norwegian Lie.
Petra Vlhova, who sees in Gut-Behrami the biggest competition and threat for the Overall Crystal Globe, tried to score a Top-10 finish as an attempt to not losing out on too many points against the Swiss. A 1.29 seconds delay was unfortunately not enough for a good result.
Photo credits: Sportnet – SME & Olympic Channel
107 points now separate the two contenders, with Gut-Behrami in the lead. Can Vlhova turn the tables around in Jasna, where two technical events (her specialties) will be held? And can Gut-Behrami go home at the end of the season with three Crystal Globes (Downhill, Super G & Overall)? The injured Sofia Goggia has now only a 97-points lead over the Val di Fassa winner and 80 over World Champion Suter. The ultimate showdown will be in Lenzerheide, where the big finals of this Alpine Skiing 2020/2021 season will take place from March 15th-21st.
Filip Zubcic proved to be superior to everyone in Bansko as the World Cup events restarted. After missing out on a championships medal, the Croatian had his sweet redemption on the Bulgarian slope.
By Daphne Seberich
As the 2021 Cortina FIS Alpine World Ski Championships came to an end, the FIS Alpine Ski World Cup restarted for the men involved in Giant Slalom events. This time, the competitions moved to Bansko, Bulgaria, where the tricky snow conditions ensured a fun and entertaining racing spectacle for the viewers at home.
Only one could arise victorious in Bansko, and it was Filip Zubcic. The Croatian Giant Slalom superstar, who barely missed out on a medal in the Italian World Championships, placing in fourth, came back stronger than ever to secure the second victory of the season. We can also not forget to mention the astonishing record he has set. Filip Zubcic missed out on a Giant Slalom podium only three times in eleven races.
The victory came down to the wire in the second run, but Mathieu Faivre can consider itself happy with second place. The Frenchman, who was crowned Giant Slalom World Champion in Cortina, has found the perfect balance. His victory has boosted his confidence. Faivre had only scored 96 points in six races before Cortina, whereas now his record states 180 in two events. A massive improvement in only three weeks.
Completing the podium was a surprise “Wunderteam” member, Stefan Brennsteiner, who earned his first World Cup podium in his career. After the Hirscher era, no Austrian came close to winning in Giant Slalom. Today’s revelation might be the future for the Austrian ski team.
Kicking-off the inversed leg, Italian skier from Bolzano Riccardo Tonetti finished in the Top-30 after the first run. A total time of 2:24.19 was the bar the other competitors had to beat. Unfortunately, Tonetti’s performance was penalized by one substantial mistake that was very costly for the overall performance. Filippo Della Vite’s first appearance in the élite 30 of any World Cup event, ended in success. He had previously entered only four races.84 hundredths of a second separated him from his teammate Tonetti.
South Tyrolean skier Hannes Zingerle, who I had the pleasure to interview in the Alta Badia Giant Slalom race back in December (click here for the video interview), was happy to start in the second run. His performance was, although, not perfect. It was enough to dethrone teammate Tonetti from the podium in third. Soon after, Mattias Rönngren took over Zingerle’s position in the rankings.
After recovering three positions, Filippo Della Vite had to surrender the provisional leadership of the race to Slovenian Stefan Hadalin, who crossed the finish line 76 hundredths ahead of the Italian. Hadalin recovered over eight positions, beating athletes like Victor Muffat-Jeandet, Stefan Luitz and Gino Caviezel.
The silver medalist of the Cortina 2021 Giant Slalom World Championships Luca De Aliprandini, who finished 15th after the first run, was losing his advantage over Hadalin intermediate by intermediate. Youngster Della Vite officially became the best-ranked Italian of the competition. De Aliprandini ended his attempt behind his rookie teammate.
Hadalin’s comeback continued as his position recovery increased to ten. Only Thibaut Favrot managed to end the Slovenian march towards the Top-10, completing his run two tenths ahead of the provisional leader. Swiss athlete Justin Murisier, who placed third in the Alta Badia Giant Slalom, crossed the finish line in the same position as in the Italian competition. Slalom Champion Marco Schwarz then replaced the Swiss on the lowest step of the podium.
“Wunderteam” athlete Manuel Feller took over the provisional lead of the race, beating Favrot’s time by 14 hundredths of a second. Loïc Meillard, who never finished outside the Top-6, had only a small advantage over the Austrian. Unfortunately, the last part of the piste proved to be time costly for the Swiss, ending his run in third behind Favrot.
Photo credits: NeveItalia & RSI
Young rising star Marco Odermatt, who was always a risk-taker, proved that his skiing style pays off. His intermediate’s incremented drastically in a positive way recovering over 7 tenths in the second part of the course. Crossing the finish line only 11 hundredths of a second ahead of Feller secured Odermatt the leadership of the race.
Austrian Stefan Brennsteiner was the biggest surprise of the competition. Placing fifth the first run was already an impressive accomplishment by the Austrian, but serving over 59 hundredths to Odermatt was the revelation of the day. Henrik Kristoffersen completely missed the target of getting on the podium, incredibly ending in 17th place behind Italian Della Vite, who recovered twelve positions.
Overall standings leader Alexis Pinturault, who was going for a fourth consecutive win in Giant Slalom, had the most insane leg ever. Not even after a quarter of the run, the French superstar lost his right pole and had to continue his performance with a substantial handicap. Considering this, Pinturault ending in second place behind Brennsteiner was an outstanding performance.
Filip Zubcic, who I interviewed in Alta Badia as well (click here for the video interview), was on his A-game. His run was flawless and extremely fast. The already green intermediates increased section by section. Finishing his run 93 hundredths of a second ahead of Brennsteiner was a statement. He was not there to play. Provisional first-run leader Faivre had a tough task ahead of his second attempt and had to deal with a lot of pressure.
Cortina 2021 Giant Slalom World Champion Mathieu Faivre was keeping up with Zubcic’s time, but the Croatian just had another pace. The newly crowned World Champion managed to earn a podium position but couldn’t beat the incredible Zubcic. Faivre squeezed between the leader and Brennsteiner to complete the podium.
Zubcic won for the third time in his career after Santa Caterina Valfurva in December and Niigata Yuzawa Naeba in February 2020. His victory also closed the gap to Giant Slalom standings leader Pinturault, who has now only a 22-points lead over the Croatian star. The competitions are not over for the weekend, as Bansko will host a second event on Sunday. Will Zubcic aim for back-to-back victories?
Lara Gut-Behrami proves to be unstoppable on the speed disciplines, especially when considering her most recent results at the 2021 Cortina D’Ampezzo FIS Alpine World Ski Championships.
By Daphne Seberich
After the 2021 Cortina d’Ampezzo FIS Alpine Ski World Championships, the World Cup restarted on a new slope for the women in Val di Fassa, Italy. The Passo San Pellegrino course, which hosted the 2019 FIS Alpine Junior World Championships, was a replacement for the Olympic Test events in Beijing, which were canceled due to the pandemic. Nevertheless, the Italian venue proved to be especially fitting to one particular athlete’s characteristics: Lara Gut-Behrami.
The Swiss athlete scored two gold medals (Super G and Giant Slalom) and one bronze in the Downhill event at the Cortina World Championships. The Ticino skier has been virtually untouchable since the beginning of 2021, especially in Super G, at which she won at four out of five events during the season.
Today’s Dowhill event was not an easy win for Gut-Behrami, as she barely surpassed Ramona Siebehofer for the lead. Two-hundredths of a second were enough to assign the victory to the Swiss racer. Placing third was Cortina Downhill World Champion, Corinne Suter who was just 26 hundredths off teammate Lara Gut-Behrami’s pace.
Breezy Johnson, who scored four third places in five World Cup Downhill races, was the athlete kicking-off the race. The time to beat for the competitors was 1:24.77. Austrian Ramona Siebenhofer seemed to race cleaner lines, which helped her increase her advantage over Johnson intermediate by intermediate. With 34 hundredths of advantage, Siebenhofer dethroned the American skier. Cortina World Championships Downhill silver medalist Kira Weidle managed to squeeze between the two racers after her attempt, finishing in second place.
Francesca Marsaglia’s performance was not at her level. The athlete competing on home soil was expecting a better result, but 1.72 seconds from the provisional leader only secured her fourth place.
The new 2021 Downhill World Champion Corinne Suter seemed not capable of interpreting the slope the best way to deserve the lead of the race. 24-hundredths of delay behind Siebenhofer still secured the provisional second spot on the podium.
Speed discipline superstar Lara Gut-Behrami was racing for the Overall World Cup title. The Swiss was always close to Siebenhofer’s time throughout the intermediates. It was a breathtaking finish, as Gut-Behrami managed to recover over 16 hundredths of a second of delay, finishing 0.02 seconds ahead of the provisional leader.
Former Downhill World Champion Ilka Stuhec, who complained ahead of the race about the easiness of difficulty of the Italian slope, was doing well ahead of the first intermediate. A mistake, although, ended her chances of winning.
Giant Slalom dominatorMarta Bassino was setting the worst intermediates of all the athletes. The Italian superstar seemed not to be in her best mental shape after the criticism she encountered following the Cortina Giant Slalom flop. A 2.18-second disadvantage placed her in last. On the contrary, teammate Laura Pirovano, who placed seventh after her run, was the best-placed “Azzurra” of the competition on home soil.
Petra Vlhova, Gut-Behrami’s main challenger for the Overall title, was doing well in the first half of the race. Keeping up with Lara Gut-Behrami is never an easy task and being 1.12 seconds behind the Downhill giant was already an impressive accomplishment for the Slovakian.
Thanks to this victory, Lara Gut-Behrami took over the leadership of the Overall standings, with over a 29-points lead over Vlhova, whose ninth-place was not enough to keep her in the lead.
As far as the Downhill standings concern, Sofia Goggia maintains the leadership over the standings, even though her injury prevents her from competing. The Italian skier was dominating the Downhill season when a fatal mistake in Garmisch-Partenkirchen’s Super G cut her winning streak short. It also prevented her from participating at the World Championships on home soil, where she would have undoubtedly scored a good result.
The races at the Passo San Pellegrino will continue with another Downhill race on Saturday and a Super G on Sunday, with Lara Gut-Behrami as a favorite to win them all. As the season comes to an end, the race to earn the Crystal Globes becomes tighter and even more exciting for the viewers. Who will come out on top?
Sebastian Foss-Solevaag went from maiden victory in Flachau to World Champion all in one month. The Norwegian’s chose the right moment to shine at Cortina’s Druscié slope.
By Daphne Seberich
All good things eventually come to an end. The Men’s Slalom event was the grand finale of theCortina D’Ampezzo 2021 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships. The Italian scenery that hosted the biannual FIS Alpine World Ski Championships has been framed by unparalleled beauty and colored in by some of the most spectacular performances seen in ages, from both the favorites and the underdogs. But it will also be remembered for the two weeks in which the rule book was poured over and read by more people than in the history of the sport.
Knowing that the snow on the course was at its limit, FIS already announced the night before the race that instead of the Top-30 starting in reverse order for the second run, it would be limited to the Top-15. The move set up a dramatic first run as the racers aimed to be in the all-important and exclusive Top-15. It also set up a dramatic second run, with everyone within one second of each other in the fight for the gold medal.
Sebastian Foss-Solevaag caught the right opportunity to be in peak performance. The Norwegian scored his second-ever career win in Cortina, after his maiden win in Flachau one month ago.
“It’s a dream, two golds in Cortina. That’s incredible,” Foss-Solevaag said, “We had too many crashes, too many injuries,”. “With a small team, we have two gold medals, that’s very good.”
“It’s amazing to finish off like this,” Foss-Solevaag said, “I knew the two guys in front could also put it together, but I fought from the start to the bottom and I did it.”
Completing the podium was the surprise leader of the first run, Austrian Adrian Pertl in second place. Norwegian teammate Henrik Kristoffersen ended his leg in third. Austria had won five of the six slalom medals at the last two WSC’s, both times with retired standout Marcel Hirscher taking the gold. Pertl came close to continuing the streak.
Photo credits: DiscoveryAlps & Freenewstoday
With bib number one, Alexis Pinturault set the bar for the other competitors with a time of 52.65. Sebastian Foss-Solevaag, the second one to descend the Cortina slope, beat the Frenchman’s fastest time by 2 tenths of a second. The winner of the first Slalom of the season in Alta Badia, Ramon Zenhäusern, crossed the finish line with a 1.49 disadvantage over the provisional leader.
The winner of the latest slalom race in Chamonix, Henrik Kristoffersen, started well with a green intermediate in the first part of the track. Unfortunately, he couldn’t capitalize on the advantage he built and finished his run in second place. Chamonix race winner Clément Noël came close to dethroning Foss-Solevaag, but it wasn’t quite enough for the leadership of the race. He closed in second place.
On-off red bib wearer Manuel Feller had a disappointing performance. 1.62 seconds separated the Austrian and the provisional leader. Marco Schwarz, the favorite to take the gold medal in the race, set two green intermediates but crossed the finish line with 51 hundredths of a second delay. The biggest surprise was Adrian Pertl, who continuously increased his advantage over Foss-Solevaag. Incredulous, he managed to dethrone the leader of the race.
Youngster Loïc Meillard had high hopes for earning a medal but his run was cut short by missing a gate in the second half of the track. Victor Muffat-Jeandet straddled one of the gates, terminating all hopes for a positive result. Brit Dave Ryding was the third athlete in a row to end his attempt prematurely.
Zagreb Slalom winner Linus Straßer never attempted to tackle Pertl in first place. Crossing the line 1.71 seconds behind the leader still granted him the tenth position. Croatian ski star Filip Zubcic, who won a silver medal in the Parallel discipline in Cortina, crossed the finish line two seconds behind the leader.
The biggest surprise of the first run was Alex Vinatzer. After not scoring any points for five races in a row, the South Tyrolean blew it out of the park performing when it mattered. Throughout his run he managed to stay close to Pertl’s time, ending in second place.
Kristoffer Jakobsen’s run seemed to not be enough for a top position, building up his delay throughout his performance. Incredibly, he caught up his gap and crossed 18 hundredths of a second behind Pertl in fourth.
Stefano Gross was having the best run of his season, setting green intermediates section by section. Unfortunately, his outstanding performance didn’t convert into a good placement, as he straddled one of the gates. Maybe he could’ve taken over the leadership if he finalized his run.
Due to concerns regarding the high temperatures in Cortina, FIS decided to invert only the Top-15 instead of the regular 30. To start the second leg was Luke Winters, who unfortunately straddled a gate and DNF’d. The first to complete his run was Istok Rodes from Croatia, setting the bar for the other competitors. Mario Matt seemed to have a good rhythm for the course set by his trainer Marco Pfeiffer. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to earn the provisional leadership.
Slovenian Stefan Hadalin set fastest the fastest time intermediate by intermediate but only crossed the finish line in second place. Daniel Yule did what he had to do and secured the provisional lead 14 hundredths of a second ahead of Rodes.
Shockingly, the favorite to take the win Marco Schwarz straddled a gate and ended his run in a DNF. His performance until that point was impressive, increasing his advantage over Yule intermediate by intermediate. Unfortunately, he couldn’t capitalize and earn a medal.
Alexis Pinturault seemed not to have what it takes to overcome the provisional leader, setting his time 28 hundredths behind Yule in third place. However, who managed to dethrone the provisional leader was Henrik Kristoffersen crossing the finish line 76 hundredths ahead of the Swiss.
Kristoffer Jakobsen, who was looking for the first career podium in Slalom, straddled a gate, cutting his run short. An unfortunate mishap. Sebastian Foss-Solevaag kept his 22 hundredths of a second advantage over Kristoffersen and even increased it in the second half of the track, crossing the finish line 46 hundredths of a second ahead of teammate Kristoffersen.
Italy held their breath for the time Alex Vinatzer skied. At every intermediate he had more insecurities, making little mistakes over and over. His times became red and worsened until he crossed the finish line 1.2 seconds behind Foss-Solevaag in third place.
The leader of the first leg Adrian Pertl was happy to score a silver medal, consolidating the podium with Foss-Solevaag winning gold and Kristoffersen bronze.
With the final Slalom race, the 2021 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships came to an end. Thanks to Pertl’s victory today, Austria came away as the most successful nation in the medal table with five gold medals, one silver and two bronze. The Swiss finished second in the medal hunt with three golds, one silver and five bronze medals. Now the World Cup returns to center stage with the next stop in Bansko (Bulgaria) this upcoming weekend.