DEC 29, 2015
From shining starts to rising stars, Italy offered a little of both: from Marcel Hirscher’s roller-coaster of emotions (his historic Gran Risa win, the theft of his skis and an unprecedented drone incident) to the arrival of the next Redster generation (with podium rookies Marco Schwarz & Alexander Kilde).
Marcel Hirscher started the Italy-tour in familiar fashion: He took his 35th World Cup win (his 17th in Giant Slalom) and his 3rd in a row on the legendary Gran Risa, which gives the Austrian a record. However, the win came with a grain of salt as Hirscher’s Redster rockets disappeared from the finish area during the victory ceremony. Atomic race director Christian Höflehner is calling for consequences: “We need to have cameras surveying the finish area”, adding that “Marcel’s race winning pair of skis from Val d’Isère and Alta Badia has many brothers and sisters, which are just waiting to be put on.”
Hirscher kept his cool despite the theft of his skis and a short, unsuccessful appearance at the Parallel Giant Slalom with virtually no real turns to be made. Not even a drone crashing two meters behind the 26-year-old during his slalom run made him lose a step (FIS race director Waldner: “This is ridiculous. There’s never going to be a drone at a race again!”). Hirscher finished the slalom on the “Madonna di Campiglio” in 2nd place.
MARCO SCHWARZ & ALEXANDER KILDE: THE RISING REDSTERS
Next to the established veterans, Italy also brought some rising stars to a now crowded Atomic Power-Team. Alexander Aamodt Kilde (23), who took 3rd in Gröden after recording the fastest time on the last intermediate and Marco Schwarz (20), who started the race with #33 and the 2nd leg from 17th position, in the end got an unexpected podium finish with a 3rd place. Adding to Schwarz’ sensational ascent is the fact that he just needed 11 World Cup races to get onto a podium (one more race than Marcel Hirscher needed for his first). The 20-year-old is no stranger to success. He won three gold medals at the Youth Olympic Games in 2012 (Giant Slalom, Super Combined & Team Event) and was the 2014 Super-G Junior world champion. With Robert Bürgler (Benjamin Raich’s former service man) in his corner, Blacky is literally set up for success.
HÖFLEHNER: „BLACKY'S PERFORMANCE IS NO ACCIDENT!“
Christian Höflehner, who introduced "Blacky" to the Atomic family this spring, is hopeful for the future: "The best with Blacky's performance is it was not an accident. With better starting numbers he will finish in the Top-15 on a regular basis.“ Two spots on the podium in Madonna gave Höflehner lots of reason to smile: „It's obvious how good our material is in the flat section and still with a lot of control in the steep part. The way Marcel has delivered under pressure after the disappointment in the parallel-GS, has been incredible.“ A succesful pre-christmas time was rounded off by a third place finish by Michaela Kirchgasser in the Super Combination of Val d’Isère.