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Neureuther overtakes Hirscher for the Bormio win


Neureuther in Bormio (GEPA/Wolfgang Grebien)

Neureuther in Bormio (GEPA/Wolfgang Grebien)

BORMIO, Italy — The weather changed drastically from the women’s race the previous day, but the course on the same section of the Stelvio deteriorated similarly for the later runners in the men’s slalom held in the Italian village known for its classic annual downhill.

Germany’s Felix Neureuther got the break he’s been seeking all season, overtaking Marcel Hirscher by .36 of a second with a technically solid second run to claim the victory just months removed from ankle surgery. The German’s last victory was in Lenzerheide last season. Italian fans blew hard in their horns for Manny Moelgg who wound up on the podium in third.

The talk of the race, aside from Neureuther, was Japan’s Naoki Yuasa who took advantage of his early start in the second run to move from 21st into fourth on the day. Yuasa was ninth in last year’s World Cup Finals in Lenzerheide and also podiumed in Madonna di Campiglio in 2012, but his blazing second run still surprised the crowd and fellow competitors.

The Americans were unable to capitalize on their coach Bernd Brunner’s first run set which swung across the hill and featured frequent rhythm changes.

“The past couple of days we’ve seen something like that — not exactly like that — but we definitely saw some swingy sections. I didn’t know (Bernd) was setting, so I would have paid more attention I guess. You have to run everything in training, wide open and turny,” said David Chodounsky. “I prefer steeps, so Val d’Isere I really liked. The snow kind of threw me off guard here. It’s pretty warm so it was really grippy. It was tough to control the skis. I just had a few too many mistakes. … When it’s a flat course, you can’t have any mistakes.”

The Americans trained with the German men in the days leading up to Bormio, and exposure to Brunner’s style of setting may have strategically benefited Neureuther and Fritz Dopfer who both finished in the top 8. German coach Hannes Wallner set the second run, but the Americans gained no advantage.

Chodounsky appeared to overski the flat hill on both runs, but he managed to finish in a tie for 15th. The day was trickier for Ted Ligety who started off with a rough warm-up and went downhill from there.

“In warm-up today I got a gate back up in the face. It went off my leg and smashed into my nose. There’s a good blood mark up on the training hill,” said Ligety who required stitches to close the gash on the bridge of his nose before first run.

Ligety’s first run was not what he had hoped for, and he lost pressure on his outside ski on the second run, sliding on his hip and nearly coming to a stop. Still, he jumped up to his feet and salvaged points in 27th.

“Not great, but I think I skied relatively well in sections, just made some mistakes here and there. This hill is so flat, so you definitely pay for those little mistakes,” he remarked.

Nolan Kasper, who podiumed in 2011 and posted two top-10 results in the 2012 season before facing a number of injury setbacks, struggled to qualify for second run from bib 34. He, along with teammates Colby Granstrom and Will Brandenburg, found themselves outside the flip. Granstrom finished first run in 31st, just .12 of a second shy of qualifying.

“I know racing a little more worked a few years ago when I did a bunch of races and got some confidence and then started skiing well in World Cups. Maybe that’s something I need to go do,” said Kasper. “These types of conditions so far have been tough. I thought I had a chance in Val d’Isere, but one mistake and I was out. Once it grooved up here it favored the early runners because they can do whatever they want. It’s good for training because it forces you to think about what you need to do right, but when you’re racing if you don’t do something right you really pay, and you come down four or five seconds out. It’s pretty brutal.”

Only four athletes outside of the top 30 qualified for second run, and that included two skiers who made it in only after the disqualifications of Markus Larsson and Alexis Pinturault for straddling.

“As we’ve seen in Levi and in Val d’Isere, some later numbers did punch it in there,” noted Kasper. “Today, there were less than five guys who made it from outside the 30, so that shows that the snow conditions combined with the course set really favored running early and having a good start position.”

Norwegian Leif Kristian Haugen fought for his top-20 finish in 19th.

“It’s definitely tough and it doesn’t get better when you’re starting later. It gets worse after every racer,” said Haugen, who has tried to stay focused on each weekend of World Cup racing despite the Olympic year. “For me, the World Cup is the most important. For sure, the Olympics is fun, but I’m trying to take every race and use that as training to get better and become a better skier overall — taking it step by step. I’m not taking the giant steps yet, but it’s getting closer and closer.”

None of the six Canadians who started first run pulled off a result strong enough to qualify for the second.

See more pictures from today’s race in our gallery

 

The Scoop

By Hank McKee

Men’s World Cup slalom, Bormio, Italy, Jan. 6

Equipment - Skier, skis/boots/bindings

1 Neureuther, Nordica/Nordica/Marker

2 Hirscher, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic

3 Moelgg, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer

4 Yuasa, Hart/Dolomite/Look

5 Hargin, Nordica/Nordica/

6 Grange, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer

7 Kristoffersen, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol

8 Dopfer, Nordica/Nordica/

9 Myhrer, Nordica/Nordica/

10 Aerni, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon

Men’s World Cup slalom, Bormio, Italy, Jan. 6 – make up race from Zagreb Jan. 6. … It is the 14th race of the men’s 34 race schedule. … The third of nine scheduled slaloms. It is the 55th World Cup race hosted (at least in part) at Bormio. … The 13th slalom and fourth for men. A rare Monday race.

It is the sixth career World Cup win for Felix Neureuther… five in slalom and one city event win. … He matches his father Christian for second all time among German men for slalom wins. … It is his first win of the season, and just his second top ten of the season.

It is the 51st career World Cup podium for Marcel Hirscher… his sixth of the season in seven completed races.

It is the 17th career World Cup podium for Manfred Moelgg. … It is his best finish and second top ten of the season.

David Chodounsky matches his third best career World Cup result. … It is his second scoring finish of the season. … It is the sixth scoring result, and second in slalom, for Ted Ligety this season.

Aksel Lund Svindal (did not race) maintains the lead of the World Cup overall standings 630-4325 over Hirscher. … Ted Ligety (27th in race) holds third with 329pts. … Erik Guay (did not race) is top Canadian in seventh with 261pts.

Mario Matt (13th race) holds the lead of the slalom standings 200-180 over Hirscher. … Mattias Hargin (fifth in race) sits third in the slalom standings with 170pts. … Chodounsky is top U.S. skier in slalom in 18th place with 52pts. … Michael Janyk (did not qualify for 2nd run) is top Canadian in 28th place with 21pts.

 

Results

Rank Bib FIS Code Name Year Nation Run 1 Run 2 Total Time FIS Points
 1  5  201702 NEUREUTHER Felix 1984 GER  1:00.26  59.49  1:59.75  0.00
 2  3  53831 HIRSCHER Marcel 1989 AUT  1:00.25  59.86  2:00.11  1.86
 3  7  292491 MOELGG Manfred 1982 ITA  1:00.83  59.57  2:00.40  3.37
 4  19  301709 YUASA Naoki 1983 JPN  1:02.23  58.25  2:00.48  3.78
 5  4  501111 HARGIN Mattias 1985 SWE  1:00.38  1:00.42  2:00.80  5.44
 6  18  192665 GRANGE Jean-Baptiste 1984 FRA  1:01.56  59.31  2:00.87  5.80
 7  17  422304 KRISTOFFERSEN Henrik 1994 NOR  1:01.55  59.38  2:00.93  6.11
 8  13  202462 DOPFER Fritz 1987 GER  1:00.95  59.99  2:00.94  6.16
 9  6  501017 MYHRER Andre 1983 SWE  1:00.65  1:00.58  2:01.23  7.66
 10  41  511983 AERNI Luca 1993 SUI  1:02.75  58.55  2:01.30  8.03
 11  12  290732 THALER Patrick 1978 ITA  1:01.19  1:00.23  2:01.42  8.65
 12  8  50605 HERBST Reinfried 1978 AUT  1:00.50  1:01.02  2:01.52  9.16
 13  1  50707 MATT Mario 1979 AUT  1:01.20  1:00.37  2:01.57  9.42
 14  29  501223 BAECK Axel 1987 SWE  1:02.02  59.60  2:01.62  9.68
 15  24  560355 VALENCIC Mitja 1978 SLO  1:02.54  59.27  2:01.81  10.67
 15  22  534508 CHODOUNSKY David 1984 USA  1:02.13  59.68  2:01.81  10.67
 17  44  51395 DIGRUBER Marc 1988 AUT  1:02.39  59.45  2:01.84  10.82
 17  39  511996 YULE Daniel 1993 SUI  1:03.12  58.72  2:01.84  10.82
 19  30  421669 HAUGEN Leif Kristian 1987 NOR  1:02.07  59.81  2:01.88  11.03
 20  26  480736 KHOROSHILOV Alexander 1984 RUS  1:03.14  58.82  2:01.96  11.44
 21  21  50624 PRANGER Manfred 1978 AUT  1:01.57  1:00.56  2:02.13  12.32
 22  9  293797 GROSS Stefano 1986 ITA  1:02.30  59.87  2:02.17  12.53
 23  15  192506 MISSILLIER Steve 1984 FRA  1:02.00  1:00.39  2:02.39  13.67
 24  2  380260 KOSTELIC Ivica 1979 CRO  1:01.51  1:00.89  2:02.40  13.72
 25  11  50625 RAICH Benjamin 1978 AUT  1:02.08  1:00.47  2:02.55  14.50
 26  23  511174 VOGEL Markus 1984 SUI  1:02.95  59.74  2:02.69  15.22
 27  16  534562 LIGETY Ted 1984 USA  1:01.85  1:02.55  2:04.40  24.08
Disqualified 1st run
 65  6290183 RONCI Giordano 1992 ITA
 63  191459 LIZEROUX Julien 1979 FRA
 14  194364 PINTURAULT Alexis 1991 FRA
 10  500656 LARSSON Markus 1979 SWE
Did not start 1st run
 79  710320 LAIKERT Igor 1991 BIH
 75  90131 GEORGIEV Georgi 1987 BUL
Did not qualify for 2nd run
 80  700879 ZAMPA Andreas 1993 SVK
 78  30149 SIMARI BIRKNER Cristian Javier 1980 ARG
 77  51434 TIPPELREITHER Matthias 1988 AUT
 73  430633 JASICZEK Michal 1994 POL
 69  301886 TAKEDA Ryu 1984 JPN
 67  511908 SCHMIDIGER Reto 1992 SUI
 66  202520 HOLZMANN Sebastian 1993 GER
 62  511896 MURISIER Justin 1992 SUI
 61  193334 RIVAS Gabriel 1986 FRA
 60  193967 MUFFAT-JEANDET Victor 1989 FRA
 57  530165 BRANDENBURG Will 1987 USA
 56  201891 SCHMID Philipp 1986 GER
 53  103676 BROWN Philip 1991 CAN
 52  511902 ZENHAEUSERN Ramon 1992 SUI
 51  192504 MERMILLOD BLONDIN Thomas 1984 FRA
 49  180703 PALONIEMI Santeri 1993 FIN
 47  294890 NANI Roberto 1988 ITA
 46  150644 KRYZL Krystof 1986 CZE
 45  102239 COUSINEAU Julien 1981 CAN
 43  930105 GRANSTROM Colby 1990 USA
 42  102912 SPENCE Brad 1984 CAN
 40  194212 THOULE Nicolas 1990 FRA
 38  700830 ZAMPA Adam 1990 SVK
 36  301312 SASAKI Akira 1981 JPN
 35  501116 LAHDENPERAE Anton 1985 SWE
 34  532138 KASPER Nolan 1989 USA
 33  102727 STUTZ Paul 1983 CAN
 32  421860 NORDBOTTEN Jonathan 1989 NOR
 25  102435 JANYK Michael 1982 CAN
 20  293098 RAZZOLI Giuliano 1984 ITA
Did not finish 2nd run
 31  54063 FELLER Manuel 1992 AUT
 28  50981 HOERL Wolfgang 1983 AUT
 27  291145 DEVILLE Cristian 1981 ITA
Did not finish 1st run
 76  60015 MOLLIN Bart 1981 BEL
 74  481148 MAYTAKOV Sergei 1990 RUS
 72  150594 TREJBAL Filip 1985 CZE
 71  421849 JOHANSEN Truls 1989 NOR
 70  501401 SAXVALL Per 1989 SWE
 68  300804 MINAGAWA Kentaro 1977 JPN
 64  103646 ZAITSOFF Sasha 1990 CAN
 59  193347 TISSOT Maxime 1986 FRA
 58  511127 GINI Marc 1984 SUI
 55  220689 RYDING David 1986 GBR
 54  380290 SAMSAL Dalibor 1985 CRO
 50  561117 KUERNER Miha 1987 SLO
 48  291318 TONETTI Riccardo 1989 ITA
 37  422082 SOLEVAAG Sebastian-Foss 1991 NOR
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