JAN 29, 2018
The first double win for Atomic this winter, ironically in the final rehearsal before the Olympics Men’s Alpine races, in the giant slalom in Garmisch, if that’s not a good omen. With Marcel Hirscher’s 120th World Cup podium, Manuel Feller managed his first one in his 78th World Cup race. Mikaela Shiffrin, who now successfully can’t be beaten as the defending World Cup champion, despite her first slalom fallout in 13 months.
With his win on Kandahar 2 Marcel achieved his 7th giant slalom win in the last 8 races; in Garmisch it was the third win in series after 2015 and 2017. The overall lead with this hat-trick is an unbelievable 6.4 seconds. This time Marcel “made do” with the fastest run time twice and 1.57 second lead over his brand colleague Feller. The 10th season win by the Redster figurehead (exceeding his own personal best) was at the same time his 55th in total, which means that the 28 year old has now overtaken Hermann Maier in the eternal winner’s rankings. “Marcel was the only one who managed to keep control in the steep section and managed to keep up speed on the flat in the same race. This was not only thanks to his exceptional technique but also because we managed to get the set up perfect for him”, declared Global Race Manager Christian Höflehner.
Behind the series winner, Manuel Feller earned himself a well-craved for place on the podium in 2nd place. “The whole winter I’ve been more confident in the giant slalom than in the slalom which is why it comes as no surprise for me to win my first podium place in this discipline. Hopefully the podium place wasn’t one race too early”, he grinned after being fourth at the halfway-point. Christian Höflehner also seemed relieved: “I’m so happy that Manuel was finally rewarded for taking risks and attacking.” However the same thing wasn’t true for the Redster speed unit. Less than 25 seconds before the finishing line both Peter Fill and Andreas Sander were on course for the Top 3, but then had to make do with 6th and 11th place respectively. Höflehner: “The speed is there, this gives me hope that our racers will be rewarded at the Olympics after the dampener here.
MIKAELAS MAIN TASK FOR KOREA: BACK TO WORK
Mikaela Shiffrin is the first Atomic athlete who’ll be taking off for South Korea on Wednesday, safe in the knowledge that her second large crystal globe can’t be taken away from her. If they follow their present schedule her competitors have a maximum of seven possibilities to earn points. But they’re still 751 points and more behind, despite Mikaela’s first ski out in slalom since Zagreb in 2017. On Sunday in Lenzerheide (where Katharina Gallhuber came in a strong 7th place) the 22 year old threaded the third last gate in the final, after a 1.09 second lead at the last interim time. “I’m not at all perturbed about Mikaela’s quality of skiing. After the packed programme in January it’s now about starting refreshed again”, says Atomic Race Director Höflehner.
Alongside the (non-Olympic) city event in Stockholm (this coming Tuesday without Mikaela Shiffrin and Manuel Feller) before the Olympic Games the Ladies still have a downhill sprint (2 runs) and one downhill (Sat / Sun) in Garmisch.