What an alpine ski weekend it's been. A historic giant slalom trio of victories for Alexis Pinturault following last week’s Combined Crystal Globe win, Marcel Hirscher and Henrik Kristoffersen earning places on the podium, and Lindsey Vonn overcoming injury to win once again.
After a slow start to the season, Pinturault is crushing it. The 24-year-old scored his fifth season win since Kitzbühel in the giant slalom in Hinterstoder, Austria.
Sunday’s victory marked a trio of consecutive wins in GS for Pinturault after he won the race in Yuzawa Naeba, Japan, a fortnight ago and then doubled up on Friday.
In Friday’s race, Pinturault led on the challenging race course-turned ice rink from start to finish, beating the runner-up Marcel Hirscher by 0.79 seconds. He triumphed in dominant fashion despite ripping through a gate halfway through the second run, which pulled his helmet strap undone and inflicted bruising to his leg.
Come Sunday, Pinturault got the better of the entire field with the fastest times in both runs, winning by a massive margin of 1.14 seconds over Hirscher and 1.26 faster than the Norwegian youngster Henrik Kristoffersen. With his GS hat-trick, Pinturault is in good company; the last French skier with the same feat of three successive wins is no one other than the ski legend Jean-Claude Killy.
I tried to push really hard and it seems to be one of the most perfect races for me.
– Alexis Pinturault
Pintu’s GS successes come just a week after he secured the career-first World Cup globe in alpine combined. He clinched the heavy crystal trophy with wins in two of the season’s three combined events.
Hirscher heading for fifth consecutive overall World Cup title
Meanwhile, Marcel Hirscher is rapidly moving within reach of an unprecedented fifth consecutive overall World Cup title. After some relatively lacklustre results in Korea and Japan, Hirscher was back at it in Austria, claiming a victory in the parallel city event in Stockholm, second place on Friday, third place finish in Saturday’s super-G and again runner-up on Sunday for a total tally of 320 points.
Hirscher now has a commanding 283-point lead over the slalom phenomenon Kristoffersen in the overall standings with nine races to go for the season. Kristoffersen and Hirscher are also duelling for the season’s slalom title with two races remaining, while Pinturault has emerged as Hirscher’s main challenger for the giant slalom globe.
“There are still three GS races left so anything can happen, but Marcel is very strong,” said Pinturault.
Lindsey Vonn scored first place in super-G after suffering hairline knee fracture
After suffering a hairline fracture in her knee in a crash in Saturday's race in Soldeu, Andorra, Lindsey Vonn had the problem area drained and was up in the start gate again Sunday. She went on to win the super-G part of the alpine combined, finishing in 13th place in the final standings after the slalom. Vonn grew her lead in the race for the overall title to 28 points over Swiss skier Lara Gut with eight starts remaining on the schedule.