Kristoffersen gets 1st win on ski from former rival Hirscher
GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany (AP) — For years, Henrik Kristoffersen and Marcel Hirscher fought fierce battles against each other in the men’s Alpine skiing World Cup.
On Wednesday, the Norwegian and the Austrian won a race together for the time since teaming up last summer.
Kristoffersen switched his equipment supplier in the offseason, joining the ski brand founded by his former rival and record-eight time overall champion Hirscher, who retired in 2019.
“First win for Van Deer-Red Bull, it’s a good one,” Kristoffersen said after triumphing in a night slalom.
“I can’t do more, I can’t change anything else than my skiing and the setup,” said the Norwegian, who pointed at his bib No. 1 after crossing the finish.
Kristoffersen dominated the field on the visibly deteriorating Gudiberg course, winning the race 1.22 seconds ahead of Manuel Feller, a former Austrian teammate of Hirscher.
Olympic champion Clément Noël was 1.46 behind in third for his first podium result of the season after the Frenchman had failed to finish both of the previous slaloms.
Racing on a challenging course surface after days of mild weather, Kristoffersen had taken a lead of more than seven-hundredths in the opening run to position himself for a first win in the discipline in 11 months.
Kristoffersen won the World Cup season title in slalom for a third time last year but had not won a race in the discipline since back-to-back victories in Garmisch-Partenkirchen in February.
Those were the first two World Cup races after the Beijing Olympics, where Kristoffersen had just missed a slalom medal in fourth place.
“Very good for sure,” Kristoffersen said about finally winning again, after finishing the previous slaloms in sixth and second place.
“I was pretty calm at the start, actually,” the Norwegian added. “I thought the second run, the conditions were rough but not so bad. I’ve skied in worse. There were some gates that were really nice to ski and I think I took pretty good advantage of that: skiing smart, not risking too much.”
Swiss skier Daniel Yule placed fourth, just ahead of Stefano Gross. The Italian veteran posted the fastest second-run time and climbed from 21st spot after the opening run for his best result in more than three years.
Home crowd favorite Linus Strasser was second after the first leg, but he lost his balance and skied out in the second after the tips of his skis crossed.
Kristoffersen’s Norwegian teammate Lucas Braathen, who led the slalom standings after winning one of the two previous races this season, completed his first run after a big mistake but was disqualified for not correctly passing a gate.
The leader of the overall World Cup standings, Swiss racer Marco Odermatt, does not compete in slalom.
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