Neureuther wins Kitzbuehel slalom for another scratch in the gondola


Felix Neureuther in Kitzbuehel (GEPA/Andreas Pranter)

Felix Neureuther in Kitzbuehel (GEPA/Andreas Pranter)

A heavy, goggle-covering snowfall, Ante Kostelic’s first run course set and the pressure of Olympic selection on the line for many competitors all conspired to make the Hahnenkamm slalom at Kitzbuehel Friday (Jan. 24) an entertaining mix of tight skiing and wild performances.

In an absolutely incredible second run of slalom in wet snowfall under the lights, some fresh talent rose into prominence, Felix Neureuther got the family record for Hahnenkamm wins and Marcel Hirscher showed a slight chink in the armor with a mishap that catapulted him from first to worst in the blink of an eye.

Among the best stories of the night was that of Swiss skier Daniel Yule, 20, the final skier to make the qualification in the first run. With a clean track he charged a more wide open second run to put down a two-run time the next 21 skiers could not match. It was an even younger Norwegian, Henrik Kristoffersen, who finally unseated the Swiss, and his effort was stellar, maintaining his speed where others could not and presenting a mark the next six skiers could not best. Mattias Hargin, Ivica Kostelic, Patrick Thaler, Alexis Pinturault, Fritz Dopfer, and then another 20-year-old Swiss, first run hero, Luca Aerni, all tried to find the magic as a Friday night crowd of thousands, swelling with each arriving train, cheered their favorites.

The magic, though, was in short supply.

Neureuther, the winner at Kitzbuehel a year ago, made no attempt at perfection, saying all he really wanted was to be safe and reach the finish. That turned out to be a good strategy.

“It was such a tough race, one of the hardest I’ve ever skied,” he said. “I just wanted to be safe and it paid off. … From the start to the end, everything was tough. It was crazy. It was so bumpy and everything, but really cool.”

His “safe” run was fast enough to wrestle the lead away from Kristoffersen, but it left the door open for first run winner Hirscher. Austrian fans are so used to Hirscher claiming slalom wins with speedy second runs that the roar went up from the moment he slid out of the start. He was charging, going for the win, leaving no doubt of his intent. He actually built on his first run lead to the first intermediate split. But then there was a gasp from the sidelines as he straddled and pulled to the side. Neureuther jumped for joy in the finish. After a long pause, Hirscher climbed to make the gate legally and then continued his run to finish 33 seconds back.

The first run was no easier for even the greatest skiers who struggled down Ante Kostelic’s creative set. Kostelic is known for his tricky unconventional course sets, and just a season ago his course on this same Ganslern hill was rejected by officials as being unskiable.

“Wow, that was a tough run,” Neureuther noted after the first. “Kostelic’s courses are always a challenge and today it was a combination of tight turns and straight, fast sections.”

Neureuther’s father Christian won the Hahnenkamm slalom once, in 1979. Felix has now reach that pinnacle twice.

“I already have a gondola, so another — how do you say — scratch and mark in the gondola,” he quipped.

Canadian Michael Janyk successfully got through both runs for 14th place and Ted Ligety for 15th. Despite losing a pole in the first run, Nolan Kasper collected his first World Cup points of the season by finishing 18th. University of Vermont skier Jonathan Nordbotten of Norway picked up a career-best finish in 20th.

Unlike virtually all Hahnenkamm slalom winners, Neureuther will benefit from a large, well attended awards ceremony since the race was shifted from Sunday, when spectators typically depart immediately following the second run.

View more photos from this race in our gallery.

 

The Scoop

Men’s World Cup slalom, Kitzbuehel, Austria, Jan. 24, 2014

Equipment - Skier, skis/boots/bindings

1 Neureuther, Nordica/Nordica/Marker

2 Kristoffersen, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol

3 Thaler, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer

4 Pinturault, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon

5 Aerni, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon

6 Hargin, Nordica/Nordica/

7 Yule, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer

8 Feller, Head/Head/Head

9 Myhrer, Nordica/Nordica/

10 Herbst, Fischer/Fischer

10 Dopfer, Nordica/Nordica

Men’s World Cup slalom, Kitzbuehel, Austria, Jan. 24, 2014. … It is the 20th of 34 races on the men’s World Cup schedule. … The sixth of nine scheduled slaloms. . … The race was rescheduled from Sunday Jan. 26 because of the weather forecast. … It is held in a heavy snowfall with the second run under the lights. … It is the opening race of the 74th Hahnenkamm. … It is the 153rd World Cup race hosted at least in part at Kitzbuehel. … The 48th slalom.

It is the eighth World Cup win for Felix Neureuther and his second at Kitzbuehel eclipsing his father’s record at the site. … He also matches his father (Christian) for fourth most German World Cup slalom wins. Both he and Maria Hoefl-Riesch win for Germany on the day.

It is a career-best result, and the third career World Cup podium for Henrik Kristoffersen… all three of them coming this season.

It is the third career World Cup podium for Patrick Thaler, all in slalom. … It is his second at Kitzbuehel… and second of the season.

Michael Janyk matches his fourth career-best slalom result at Kitzbuehel, an identical placing to last season. … It is his best result of the season. … It is the third slalom score of the season for Ted Ligety and his second best finish of the season in slalom. … It is the first score of the season for Nolan Kasper. … It is the third time he has scored at Kitzbuehel in slalom.

Aksel Lund Svindal (did not race) maintains the lead of the World Cup overall standings 757-735 over Marcel Hirscher. … Alexis Pinturault  (fourth in race) holds third overall with 556pts. … Neureuther moves into fourth and Ted Ligety drops to fifth with 449pts. … Bode Miller is ninth with 309pts. … Erik Guay leads Canada in 14th overall with 261pts.

Hirscher holds the lead of the slalom standings 340-310 over Neureuther. … Mattias Hargin (sixth in race) is third with 273pts. … David Chodounsky (DNF 1st) is 18th in slalom with 84pts. … Janyk leads Canada in 27th with 47pts.

Austria leads the men’s Nations Cup 3123-2166 over France. … Italy is third with 1904pts. … The U.S. is sixth with 1160pts and Canada ninth with 689pts.

 

Results

Rank Bib FIS Code Name Year Nation Run 1 Run 2 Total Time Diff. FIS Points
 1  2  201702 NEUREUTHER Felix 1984 GER  57.30  55.93  1:53.23  0.00
 2  10  422304 KRISTOFFERSEN Henrik 1994 NOR  58.82  54.98  1:53.80  +0.57  3.12
 3  9  290732 THALER Patrick 1978 ITA  58.49  55.56  1:54.05  +0.82  4.49
 4  12  194364 PINTURAULT Alexis 1991 FRA  58.28  56.00  1:54.28  +1.05  5.75
 5  27  511983 AERNI Luca 1993 SUI  58.18  56.15  1:54.33  +1.10  6.02
 6  7  501111 HARGIN Mattias 1985 SWE  58.75  55.70  1:54.45  +1.22  6.68
 7  41  511996 YULE Daniel 1993 SUI  1:00.46  54.15  1:54.61  +1.38  7.56
 8  31  54063 FELLER Manuel 1992 AUT  59.18  55.48  1:54.66  +1.43  7.83
 9  4  501017 MYHRER Andre 1983 SWE  1:00.18  54.55  1:54.73  +1.50  8.21
 10  13  50605 HERBST Reinfried 1978 AUT  59.28  55.50  1:54.78  +1.55  8.49
 10  8  202462 DOPFER Fritz 1987 GER  58.27  56.51  1:54.78  +1.55  8.49
 12  38  422082 SOLEVAAG Sebastian-Foss 1991 NOR  1:00.07  55.10  1:55.17  +1.94  10.62
 13  36  501116 LAHDENPERAE Anton 1985 SWE  1:00.37  54.84  1:55.21  +1.98  10.84
 14  26  102435 JANYK Michael 1982 CAN  59.82  55.49  1:55.31  +2.08  11.39
 15  16  534562 LIGETY Ted 1984 USA  59.67  55.72  1:55.39  +2.16  11.83
 16  25  511174 VOGEL Markus 1984 SUI  1:00.40  55.04  1:55.44  +2.21  12.10
 17  3  380260 KOSTELIC Ivica 1979 CRO  58.61  56.87  1:55.48  +2.25  12.32
 18  35  532138 KASPER Nolan 1989 USA  1:00.26  55.26  1:55.52  +2.29  12.54
 19  30  50981 HOERL Wolfgang 1983 AUT  1:00.26  55.50  1:55.76  +2.53  13.85
 20  33  421860 NORDBOTTEN Jonathan 1989 NOR  1:00.44  55.33  1:55.77  +2.54  13.91
 21  51  511902 ZENHAEUSERN Ramon 1992 SUI  1:00.10  55.80  1:55.90  +2.67  14.62
 22  28  291145 DEVILLE Cristian 1981 ITA  59.95  56.80  1:56.75  +3.52  19.27
 23  1  53831 HIRSCHER Marcel 1989 AUT  56.92  1:29.85  2:26.77  +33.54  183.65
Disqualified 2nd run
 49  180703 PALONIEMI Santeri 1993 FIN
Disqualified 1st run
 44  930105 GRANSTROM Colby 1990 USA
Did not qualify for 2nd run
 80  660021 DANILOCHKIN Yuri 1991 BLR
 77  460060 BARBU Alexandru 1987 ROU
 72  92562 PRISADOV Stefan 1990 BUL
 68  180567 RASANEN Joonas 1989 FIN
 65  501401 SAXVALL Per 1989 SWE
 62  511896 MURISIER Justin 1992 SUI
 61  103865 PHILP Trevor 1992 CAN
 60  511908 SCHMIDIGER Reto 1992 SUI
 59  561148 SKUBE Matic 1988 SLO
 58  193967 MUFFAT-JEANDET Victor 1989 FRA
 54  201891 SCHMID Philipp 1986 GER
 50  192504 MERMILLOD BLONDIN Thomas 1984 FRA
 48  291318 TONETTI Riccardo 1989 ITA
 46  220689 RYDING David 1986 GBR
 43  102912 SPENCE Brad 1984 CAN
 42  194212 THOULE Nicolas 1990 FRA
 39  700830 ZAMPA Adam 1990 SVK
 37  301312 SASAKI Akira 1981 JPN
 32  530165 BRANDENBURG Will 1987 USA
 29  421669 HAUGEN Leif Kristian 1987 NOR
 21  50624 PRANGER Manfred 1978 AUT
 18  192506 MISSILLIER Steve 1984 FRA
Did not finish 2nd run
 40  191459 LIZEROUX Julien 1979 FRA
 24  480736 KHOROSHILOV Alexander 1984 RUS
 17  293797 GROSS Stefano 1986 ITA
 15  50625 RAICH Benjamin 1978 AUT
 14  192665 GRANGE Jean-Baptiste 1984 FRA
 6  292491 MOELGG Manfred 1982 ITA
Did not finish 1st run
 79  20267 ESTEVE Kevin 1989 AND
 78  710320 LAIKERT Igor 1991 BIH
 76  30149 SIMARI BIRKNER Cristian Javier 1980 ARG
 75  294890 NANI Roberto 1988 ITA
 74  194262 BUFFET Robin 1991 FRA
 73  430633 JASICZEK Michal 1994 POL
 71  550054 ZVEJNIEKS Kristaps 1992 LAT
 70  60160 ALAERTS Kai 1989 BEL
 69  303696 KONO Kyosuke 1991 JPN
 67  150594 TREJBAL Filip 1985 CZE
 66  380292 ZRNCIC-DIM Natko 1986 CRO
 64  512014 NIEDERBERGER Bernhard 1993 SUI
 63  6290183 RONCI Giordano 1992 ITA
 57  511127 GINI Marc 1984 SUI
 56  202437 LUITZ Stefan 1992 GER
 55  193347 TISSOT Maxime 1986 FRA
 53  150644 KRYZL Krystof 1986 CZE
 52  103676 BROWN Philip 1991 CAN
 47  102239 COUSINEAU Julien 1981 CAN
 45  51395 DIGRUBER Marc 1988 AUT
 34  102727 STUTZ Paul 1983 CAN
 23  560355 VALENCIC Mitja 1978 SLO
 22  501223 BAECK Axel 1987 SWE
 20  293098 RAZZOLI Giuliano 1984 ITA
 19  534508 CHODOUNSKY David 1984 USA
 11  500656 LARSSON Markus 1979 SWE
 5  50707 MATT Mario 1979 AUT
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