JAN 08, 2018
In the first week of Alpine racing in the New Year, Mikaela Shiffrin and Marcel Hirscher were, more than ever, the measure of all World Cup things to come: eight races, seven wins, leading in seven interim results. From Kranjska Gora and Adelboden even the Atomic figureheads carried away the maximum of 400 points after some memorable wins.
39, 40, 51, 52: Mikaela and Marcel are getting imminently closer to new record highs with their simultaneous winning form. The US girl will soon beat the best record of Annemarie Moser-Pröll (41 wins before her 23rd birthday), Anja Pärson (with 42 first places, N° 5 in the all time best list) and also get closer to the slalom queen Marlies Schild (35 slalom wins). In Kranjska Gora Mikaela won for the 32nd time with a huge lead of 1.6 seconds. The gap of 0.3 seconds in giant slalom was comparably poor. “It’s not easy to manage 8 tenths of a second from the first run, when the competition risks everything to lead in this World Cup discipline. Especially as at the moment Mikaela isn’t risking everything in the giant slalom as she does in the slalom. Atomic Race Director Christian Höflehner is convinced: “In the future her experience in Kranjska Gora will help her to be able to do exactly this”. The successful 22 year old defending champion of the Overall World Cup can hardly be beaten: she’s leading the Overall classification with 1281 points, 721 more than her closest competitor. By comparison, Tina Maze had, at this point in the season, 1139 points (2414 points) in her record season 2012/13…
Dramatically on the up in 2018 is Sofia Goggia, the Redster athlete with bundles of energy. The most improved skier of the 2016/17 season carved her way onto the giant slalom podium with a third place in Kranjska Gora. Christian Höflehner: “I’m pretty certain that the penny has dropped, and she will get into a similar flow again like last year.” But the surprise was definitely the Atomic youngster Carole Bissig (21) who in her 4th World Cup race, delivered the fourth fastest time in the slalom final, moving her into 17th place.
MARCEL CAN’T BE BEATEN WITH OR WITHOUT CHANGING SKIS
Marcel Hirscher proves with seven wins this season, among them the double win in Adelboden (the 2nd time since 2012 and the only racer ever up until now) that he has definitely found his rhythm again. Höflehner: “His win in the giant slalom after these mistakes in the finishing section certainly counts as one of his most spectacular.” This win was on the winning skis from Alta Badia (1st run) and a “virgin” model (final) which provide good balance even in ruts. In the slalom on Sunday, Marcel’s 100th, his World Cup wins N° 52 and the 24th in slalom were both without changing the skis. “Really impressive”, Christian Höflehner enthused, “especially as Marcel’s first runs are also very controlled. He only attacks in passages where he feels absolutely certain.” For this historic weekend the icing on the cake was definitely Manuel Feller’s 5th place in the giant slalom. In the final the slalom vice world champion delivered two section best times and the second fastest overall time.