Pinturault takes "amazing" race in snowy Val d'Isere


The annual Criterium of the First Snow at Val d’Isere got underway with more first snow than anticipated as five meters of the stuff had fallen in the French resort in the days leading up to Saturday’s (Dec. 8) World Cup slalom. With the start delayed to allow as much time for course prep as possible, the second run was held under the lights on the Face de Bellevarde. That all created perfect conditions for an upset and home standing Alexis Pinturault was more than happy to oblige.

“Yes, there was a lot of snow, but the slope was really great,” the rising French star said. “This race was amazing to me.”

And to many others, no doubt. Though the track had been injected with water, twice, there was no hope of creating a scar proof surface and ruts played a significant role. All but one of the first five finishers in the first run had also started among the first five. Only wily old veteran (34 years and 11 months) Manfred Pranger broke into that quintet from 11th.

In the second run, with the snow again falling, it was quickly clear it would continue to be difficult to make any dramatic move. Austria, with seven men qualified to take two runs, looked likely to have a big day, especially with Pranger sitting second and last season’s brightest star Marcel Hircher in the lead.

But early runners proved difficult to dislodge. It took a pair of Swedes to first clear a path to the top of the leader board. Andre Myhrer and Jens Byggmark, as much as nine tenths back at the first interval timer, moved to the lead as the 12th and 13th finishers of the first run. Few, however, could follow their lead.

With the heavily partisan crowd cheering, Pinturault – the 25th starter of the second floodlit run – put down a near perfect run and an enormous 1.06 second advantage over the field to that point. Still, he had given up .73 to Hirscher in the first run, so while optomistic he knew it was far from a lock on a win.

The next skier out, Christian Deville could not catch him nor the Swedes and dropped off the ladder. Stefano Gross straddled the second gate on the course, skied to the side and pounded his poles into the drifts.

Felix Neureuther held a .46 advantage at the start, but was already beind Pinturault by the first interval. He landed second with two more to race and the Frenchman celebrated a sure podium finish, his second in slalom.

Pranger, with a half second edge at the wand, battled a cross wind but held the lead through the first two intervals, then dropped back. Hirscher, still searching for his first win of the season, kicked out of the start and quickly an into trouble. He got late, was pushed into the back seat and fought to stay on course. Though he regained his form and was scintillating on the last third of the course, the damage had been done. Pinturault got the win with Neureuther second and Hirscher third.

American Ted Ligety – he had tweeted the conditions were like skiing “in a bucket of tennis balls,”  posted 12th on the day, one placing better than he recorded in the Levi slalom opener in November and Dave Chodounsky, the final first run qualifier, took advantage of the clean second run course to climb to 15th.

“The guys took advantage of a good opportunity (in the second run),” said US coach Sasha Rearick.

“Ted has solidified himself in the top 15 and that’s a good step in the right direction for him to rack up some more points in the future. David has qualified in both World Cup slaloms this season and is in a good place after coming back from an injury. He’s skiing really well. … consistent.”

Gepa photo

The SCOOP
by Hank McKee

Men’s World Cup slalom, Val d’Isere, France, Dec. 8, 2012
Equipment

Skier, skis/boots/bindings
1 Pinturault, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
2 Neureuther, Nordica/Nordica/Marker
3 Hirscher, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
4 Myhrer, Nordica/Nordica/Marker
5 Byggmark, Voelkl/Fischer/Marker
6 Pranger, Volkl/Tecnica/Marker
7 Deville, Volkl/Fischer/Marker
8 Matt, Blizzard/Tecnica/Marker
9 Hoerl, Fischer/Lange/Tyrolia
10 Dopfer, Nordica/Nordica/Marker

Men’s World Cup slalom, Val d’Isere, France. … start delayed and slalom and GS switched due to heavy snowfall. … It is the 17th of 74 races on the 2012-13 World Cup schedule. … the eighth of 36 men’s races and the second of 11 scheduled men’s slaloms (including two city event parallel races). … It is the 157th Cup race held at least in part at Val d’Isere. … just the tenth slalom. … It is the first of four Cup races at the site set for this season, two for men and two for women.

It is the second career World Cup win for Alexis Pinturault, the other coming in a parallel city event at Moscow last season. … It is his second slalom podium placing. … He is a two time World Junior champion in GS. … It is his third score of the season. … He also placed fifth in GS at Beaver Creek

It is the 15th Cup podium result for Felix Neureuther. … all but two coming in slalom. … It is his first podium of the season and the first tallied at Val d’Isere.

It is the 31st career World Cup podium for Marcel Hirscher. … his 15th in slalom. … It is his fourth podium of the season in four completed races. … It is his fifth Cup podium scored at Val d’Isere.

Ted Ligety matches his 26th best career Cup slalom result. … It is his best slalom score at Val d’Isere. … and his best slalom placing of the season by one place. …  It is the fourth career World Cup scoring result for David Chodounsky and his first of the season.

Aksel Lund Svindal (did not race) holds the lead of the World Cup overall standings 400-342 over Ligety. … Hirscher is third with 280pts. … Erik Guay (did not race) is the top Canadian overall in 19th with 104pts. … Andre Myhrer (fourth in race) leads the Slalom standings 150-140 over Hirscher. … Neureuther takes third with 116pts. … Ligety is top American in 12th place with 108pts. … Austria leads the men’s Nations Cup 1425-1003 over Italy. … France is third with 691pts. … The US is fifth with 532pts and Canada eighth with 235pts.

Val d’Isère (FRA)
FIS World Cup
Men’s Slalom
Dec. 8, 2012

Rank Bib FIS Code Name Year Nation Run 1 Run 2 Total Time FIS Points
 1  17  194364 PINTURAULT Alexis  1991  FRA   49.22  47.33  1:36.55  0.00
 2  3  201702 NEUREUTHER Felix  1984  GER   48.76  48.29  1:37.05  3.21
 3  4  53831 HIRSCHER Marcel  1989  AUT   48.49  48.63  1:37.12  3.66
 4  7  501017 MYHRER Andre  1983  SWE   49.89  47.72  1:37.61  6.81
 5  9  501101 BYGGMARK Jens  1985  SWE   49.92  47.72  1:37.64  7.00
 6  11  50624 PRANGER Manfred  1978  AUT   48.72  48.93  1:37.65  7.06
 7  5  291145 DEVILLE Cristian  1981  ITA   49.15  48.72  1:37.87  8.48
 8  2  50707 MATT Mario  1979  AUT   49.82  48.24  1:38.06  9.70
 9  25  50981 HOERL Wolfgang  1983  AUT   50.60  47.50  1:38.10  9.95
 10  13  202462 DOPFER Fritz  1987  GER   49.86  48.25  1:38.11  10.02
 11  19  292491 MOELGG Manfred  1982  ITA   50.33  47.83  1:38.16  10.34
 12  10  534562 LIGETY Ted  1984  USA   50.34  47.84  1:38.18  10.47
 13  12  501111 HARGIN Mattias  1985  SWE   49.61  48.60  1:38.21  10.66
 14  21  50605 HERBST Reinfried  1978  AUT   50.31  47.93  1:38.24  10.85
 15  32  534508 CHODOUNSKY David  1984  USA   50.73  47.55  1:38.28  11.11
 16  40  700830 ZAMPA Adam  1990  SVK   50.56  47.80  1:38.36  11.62
 16  6  380260 KOSTELIC Ivica  1979  CRO   49.49  48.87  1:38.36  11.62
 18  26  511174 VOGEL Markus  1984  SUI   50.47  47.95  1:38.42  12.01
 19  14  560355 VALENCIC Mitja  1978  SLO   49.95  48.49  1:38.44  12.14
 20  8  290732 THALER Patrick  1978  ITA   50.46  48.01  1:38.47  12.33
 21  15  293098 RAZZOLI Giuliano  1984  ITA   50.34  48.18  1:38.52  12.65
 22  24  501223 BAECK Axel  1987  SWE   50.71  47.83  1:38.54  12.78
 23  50  54063 FELLER Manuel  1992  AUT   50.21  48.35  1:38.56  12.91
 24  41  294890 NANI Roberto  1988  ITA   50.64  48.06  1:38.70  13.81
 25  18  192506 MISSILLIER Steve  1984  FRA   50.07  48.66  1:38.73  14.00
 26  16  50625 RAICH Benjamin  1978  AUT   49.83  49.16  1:38.99  15.67
 27  44  192504 MERMILLOD BLONDIN Thomas  1984  FRA   50.55  48.50  1:39.05  16.05
 28  30  511908 SCHMIDIGER Reto  1992  SUI   50.47  50.42  1:40.89  27.87
Did not qualify for 2nd run
   76  320293 KYUNG Sung-Hyun  1990  KOR         
   73  30149 SIMARI BIRKNER Cristian Javier  1980  ARG         
   72  930160 KELLEY Robby  1990  USA         
   71  194207 THEOLIER Steven  1990  FRA         
   70  180627 MALMSTROM Victor  1991  FIN         
   69  561161 JAZBEC Patrick  1989  SLO         
   66  193334 RIVAS Gabriel  1986  FRA         
   62  501458 LINDH Calle  1990  SWE         
   61  50547 SCHOENFELDER Rainer  1977  AUT         
   58  220689 RYDING David  gn="center">1986  GBR         
   57  193986 PLACE Francois  1989  FRA         
   56  511902 ZENHAEUSERN Ramon  1992  SUI         
   55  380290 SAMSAL Dalibor  1985  CRO         
   54  481148 MAYTAKOV Sergei  1990  RUS         
   52  930107 GREGORAK Will  1990  USA         
   51  150594 TREJBAL Filip  1985  CZE         
   48  201896 STEHLE Dominik  1986  GER         
   46  301312 SASAKI Akira  1981  JPN         
   45  480736 KHOROSHILOV Alexander  1984  RUS         
   42  291318 TONETTI Riccardo  1989  ITA         
   39  193967 MUFFAT JEANDET Victor  1989  FRA         
   38  194212 THOULE Nicolas  1990  FRA         
   37  421849 JOHANSEN Truls  1989  NOR         
   36  180703 PALONIEMI Santeri  1993  FIN         
   34  202437 LUITZ Stefan  1992  GER         
   33  103865 PHILP Trevor  1992  CAN         
   31  422304 KRISTOFFERSEN Henrik  1994  NOR         
   28  421400 MYHRE Lars Elton  1984  NOR         
   27  150644 KRYZL Krystof  1986  CZE         
   23  500656 LARSSON Markus  1979  SWE         
   22 ass="printir_20" style="font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; font-size: 9px; line-height: normal; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, Geneva, Swiss, SunSans-Regular; background-color: #ffffff; text-align: right; vertical-align: bottom; padding-right: 7px;" align="right"> 102435 JANYK Michael  1982  CAN         
Did not finish 2nd run
   20  301709 YUASA Naoki  1983  JPN         
   1  293797 GROSS Stefano  1986  ITA         
Did not finish 1st run
yle="font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; font-size: 9px; line-height: normal; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, Geneva, Swiss, SunSans-Regular; background-color: #f0f0f0; vertical-align: top; padding-right: 7px;" align="right">   75  40594 PERAUDO Ross  1992  AUS         
   74  150495 VRABLIK Martin  1982  CZE         
   68  102922 WHITE Trevor  1984  CAN         
   67  51395 DIGRUBER Marc  1988  AUT         
   65  60015 MOLLIN Bart  1981  BEL         
   64  193347 TISSOT Maxime  1986  FRA         
   63  320266 JUNG Dong-Hyun  1988  KOR         
   60  561148 SKUBE Matic  1988  SLO         
   59  501116 LAHDENPERAE Anton  1985  SWE         
   53  102239 COUSINEAU Julien  1981  CAN         
   49  102727 STUTZ Paul  1983  CAN         
   47  201891 SCHMID Philipp  1986  GER         
   43  934502 ANKENY Michael  1991  USA         
   35  421669 HAUGEN Leif Kristian  1987  NOR         
   29  530165 BRANDENBURG Will  1987  USA      td>  

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