Alpine combined can be a funny event. Just the thought of nimble slalom skiers in a bullet tuck and speed skiers dancing their way down a slalom course can be cause for some serious eyebrow raising. Friday’s alpine combined in Bormio, Italy, was no different.
Every once in a while, however, an athlete comes along that is just as adept at the sweeping, high-speed turns of downhill and super-G as they are at picking apart a slalom course with samurai-like precision and grace. For the past several years, France’s Alexis Pinturault has been that athlete. Astonishingly, Pinturault has only finished off of a combined podium three times since 2013, picking up seven wins and four of the last five crystal globes in the discipline since. With his impressive come from behind win on Friday, Pinturault is the undisputed king of combined.
Perhaps more notable for his titanic giant slalom battles with the likes of Marcel Hirscher and the rest of the deep French men’s GS squad or his swashbuckling style in slalom, it’s easy to overlook Pinturault’s aptitude at the speed events. Although his pure World Cup downhill experience is limited, the Frenchman has climbed the podium in super-G three times in his career including a win in Lenzerheide, Switzerland, in 2014.
After a middle of the pack downhill portion, Pinturault relied on his slalom prowess to jump 18 places in the standings and take the win.
“It was one of the hardest downhills we’ve ever had in combined,” said Pinturault. “The slalom was also not that difficult. It was a really long flat, like more than half of the slalom and really straight so it was really difficult for me to make a huge difference in the slalom and probably that I win today also because of my downhill performance.”
Following Pinturault on the podium was a pair of speed maestros with Norway’s Kjetil Jansrud claiming his second podium in as many days in second, 0.42 seconds back, and Italy’s two-time downhill title winner Peter Fill rounding out the podium in third, 0.45 seconds off the pace.
“Slalom was good,” Jansrud shared. “I think I was a little below average on the downhill; I didn’t make it work the way I wanted and it’s always good to bring out some old slalom skills. Bormio has never been a good venue for me, I haven’t taken many World Cup points here but now I have. I have two podiums in two days and am very happy and excited and am taking a New Years break with a smile on my face.”
With the afternoon slalom run taking place on the bottom of the downhill track, the slalom portion could be described as a drag race by World Cup standards, but that high speed and quick tempo proved quite the challenge, especially for athletes with limited slalom experience. Many of the top performers in the downhill run found themselves falling way back in the standings by the race’s end.
For the American contingent, Vermont’s Ryan Cochran-Siegle led the squad and picked up his first World Cup points of the season in 14th. Cochran-Siegle admitted to tweaking his knee slightly in the downhill training run on Tuesday and was unable to push as hard as he wanted in either run of the combined.
“When I kicked out of the start gate I definitely wasn’t able to just let it go as much,” he said after the race. “With combined, it’s kind of a funny event where if you make it down clean you usually end up with points. At the same time, being disappointed with your skiing … that can be kind of frustrating at times. I think it’s good that we’re in the points and can move forward from today but I also think we’ve got a lot of work to do as well.”
Following Cochran-Siegle in the points was Jared Goldberg in 15th and Bryce Bennett in 19th. Sam Morse rounded out the American finishers in 35th and Drew Duffy did not finish his slalom run.
That’s a wrap for men’s World Cup action in 2017. Racing picks up in 2018 with men’s and women’s slalom in Zagreb, Croatia Jan. 3-4.
- Alexis Pinturault (FRA) – Head/Head/Head
- Kjetil Jansrud (NOR) – Head/Head/Head
- Peter Fill (ITA) – Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
- Mauro Caviezel (SUI) – Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
- Thomas Dressen (GER) – Rossignol/Lange/Look
- Matthias Mayer (AUT) – Head/Head/Head
- Martin Cater (SLO) – Stoeckli/Lange/Atomic
- Broderick Thompson (CAN) – Head/Head/Head
- Gian Luca Baradun (SUI) – Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
- Romed Baumann (AUT) – Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
|Rank||Bib||FIS Code||Name||Year||Nation||Run 1||Run 2||Total Time||Diff.||FIS Points||WC Points|
|9||26||512031||BARANDUN Gian Luca||1994||SUI||1:50.41||52.13||2:42.54||+1.41||10.06||29|
|18||5||422139||KILDE Aleksander Aamodt||1992||NOR||1:50.29||53.07||2:43.36||+2.23||15.92||13|
|22||25||990116||DE ALIPRANDINI Luca||1990||ITA||1:51.43||52.10||2:43.53||+2.40||17.13||9|
|34||8||380292||ZRNCIC DIM Natko||1986||CRO||1:52.15||52.93||2:45.08||+3.95||28.19||0|
|Did not finish 2nd run|
|Disqualified 2nd run|
|Did not start 2nd run|
|Did not finish 1st run|