With sunshine returning and the strong winds departing Åre, the conditions were much better for the Men’s Giant Slalom. Marcel Hirscher was the favourite for the event, the Austrian has been in great form all season and is the defending World Champion in Giant Slalom.
But after the first run of the day, it was France’s Alexis Pinturault who was atop the leader board, narrowly edging out Hirscher by one-tenth of a second. Norway’s Henrik Kristoffersen was just another eight hundredths back.
The rest of the field applied intense pressure to the top three, but they were more than up to the challenge in the second run with all three remaining on the podium at the end of the event.
But it wasn’t Austria’s main man who took gold, or even first-run leader Alexis Pinturault. It was, in fact, Norway’s Henrik Kristoffersen, spurred on by the immense support provided by both Local Norwegian and Swedish fans, who have been behind Norway all week in the absence of their own competitors.
A surprised Kristoffersen, who hasn’t won a Giant Slalom event since 2015, said after the race “It was about time. Everyone has been working insanely, so it’s amazing… I have worked so hard and been close so many times. I just went for it”.
A magnanimous Hirscher, who won his eighth world championship medal, reflected after the competition “Considering the circumstances of how everything went in the last three days, this is actually a very cool result”.
He added, “Tomorrow at some point I will be happy about silver. Henrik has mastered it brilliantly today, and he deserves it too, if you want to search for two tenths, then you would find them, but it fits everything as it is”.
The final podium positions were as followed:
- KRISTOFFERSEN Henrik (NOR) – 1:10.15 (3) 1:10.09 (5) 2:20.24
- HIRSCHER Marcel (AUT) – 1:10.07 (2) 1:10.37 (10) 2:20.44 0.20
- PINTURAULT Alexis (FRA) – 1:09.97 (1) 1:10.69 (19) 2:20.66
Today’s (Saturday) event is the Women’s Slalom. The entire event, two qualification runs and two final runs will be run today after yesterday’s postponement of the qualification runs.