JAN 18, 2021
In this pandemic winter it is the excitement the World Cup season brings that helps regain a bit of normality – and every weekend is an emotional rollercoaster for the Atomic team: Mikaela Shiffrin being all smiles after taking the win in the Flachau Slalom; then the bad news that reigning overall World Cup champ Aleksander Aamodt Kilde’s season is over; followed by the joy around “fairy tale prince” Manuel Feller’s first World Cup victory in Flachau; and finally the slalom thriller between him and Redster buddy Marco Schwarz – not for the faint-hearted ...
Her fourth victory in the Night Slalom of Flachau was a big step back for Mikaela Shiffrin. “Not only because her 68th World Cup win was also her 100th career podium, but because Mikaela proved that she can find the classic Shiffrin extra gear and put he hammer down again. Anyone who knows her well was able to witness: everything has changed, from the expression on her face to her body language – she’s on fire again,” says Atomic Race Manager Christian Höflehner, describing his exceptional athlete's mental comeback. Even though Mikaela "only" took two 6th places at both Giant Slaloms in Kranjska Gora there is no doubt she’s on the right track: “I’ve seen Mikaela train GS on Reiteralm – stronger than ever! Her consistency will come back for sure."
“FAIRY TALE PRINCE” MANUEL IS FINALLY CROWNED KING
“Finally!” There was so much relief in this one word after Manuel Feller’s career-first victory in the first of two Flachau Slaloms. The “fairy tale prince” is finally crowned king. Taking the win was by far the best answer to the commotion around his pre-race “fairy tale meadow” comment that simply reiterated the “old World Cup truth” that races on easier slopes are by no means a walk in the park. Anyway, Atomic Race Manager Christian Höflehner approves of Manu’s sound bites here and there: “True characters are important for the sport. And if they’re as fast as he is at the moment, even better!” The slalom match between Redster buddies Manuel Feller and Marco Schwarz is priceless: “To be both buddy and competitor is no contradiction for smart athletes, as the two clearly demonstrate. They push each other and manage to keep things under control in the discipline with the toughest competition currently,” Höflehner is pleased.
ALEKSANDER’S “SEASON OVER” IS PAINFUL
That his Redster speed team has been dealing with so many injuries lately is “really bitter”, says Höflehner: “Aleksander Aamodt Kilde made a pretty unspectacular mistake while training Super-G. His service man heard the sound from the side of the course – torn ACL! The fact that Aleks’ season has been cut short is painful. Unfortunately, that's part of the sport too, though. A short while ago Mauro Caviezel was leading the Super-G World Cup standings, Aleksander was 2nd, Adrian Smiseth Sejersted 4th – now all three will miss Kitzbühel, but we hope for Mauro and Adrian to come back soon, before the season ends."
Next up are two Downhills and a Super-G for both the men’s team (in Kitzbühel) and the women’s team in Crans-Montana.