JAN 11, 2021
When Marcel Hirscher was outshining everything and everyone in the Ski World Cup, Marco Schwarz stayed cooler than most. He knew that his time was yet to come. Actually, his time had already begun in the 2018-2019 season – up until that intolerable final jump in the Bansko Combined Super-G in February 2019 that painfully cut his season short: torn ACL and meniscus! "After such a serious knee injury, it takes time to get back to the level you were at before," Atomic Global Race Manager Christian Höflehner knows from experience.
WILL MARCO FIRE THE “BLACKY ROCKET“?
The all-round skiing genius Marco Schwarz is back to the future in Slalom, taking the victory in Adelboden for the first time in his World Cup career following seven podiums and several halftime leads. The timing couldn't be any better: Marco tackles the “classic triple” with the upcoming races in Wengen, Kitzbühel, and Schladming in the red bib that he just took over from Atomic buddy Manuel Feller (DNF this time): he’s this season’s best Slalom racer so far.
“Alta Badia, Madonna, Zagreb … the conditions in the last three Slaloms weren't ideal for Marco, because he needs more aggressive conditions. He’s found and taken advantage of them in Adelboden. Perhaps the last missing spark for the World Cup’s latest first-time winner to re-ignite the“ Blacky rocket” in the upcoming classics ... ”
ATOMIC TEAM: CHEER AND DOWNERS
Marco’s career-first win came as a consolation after an emotional rollercoaster for the team this past weekend. Höflehner: “Placing 4th and 5th in the Giant Slaloms, Aleks Aamodt Kilde is hot on overall World Cup leader Alexis Pinturault’s heels. Filip Zubcic finally made it to the top of the tops in GS, laying down two strong races. But the injuries of Mauro Caviezel and Lucas Braathen are really bitter! Unfortunately, the season is over for Lucas; "Mr. Recovery“ Mauro will hopefully recover quickly from his concussion and collateral ligament injury this time around too. Normally, no one comes back as quickly as he does."
For Höflehner, Sofia Goggia's pedal-to-the-metal run in the St. Anton Downhill was “the most brilliant thing we’ve seen in women's speed competitions in a long time: an incredible run with her signature style that keeps fans on the edge of their seats and Goggia on the top of the podium.” Just behind her: Atomic athletes Breezy Johnson (3rd) and Ester Ledecka (4th). In view of this, Sofia's DNF in the Super-G is acceptable: "Shit happens, Sofia is always pushing it to the limit, and it’s important that she keeps it that way."
Up next, the women’s tech crews will head to Flachau for the night slalom on Tuesday. The men’s World Cup continues with the classic Lauberhorn races in Wengen.