A mid-race fog rolled in and put the brakes on the men’s giant slalom event in Adelboden, Switzerland. Austria’s Marcel Hirscher was forced into a holding pattern, while sitting in second place behind Norway’s Henrik Kristoffersen, after his first run.
After a 45-minute delay, the skiers got the all clear, and Hirscher roared back to win his fourth GS of the season.
Hirscher attacked the course in his second run to take the lead by just over a second. With no room for error, Kristoffersen dropped in, but halfway down course it was apparent the Norwegian would not have the speed to overtake Hirscher. Kristoffersen finished in second, .71 hundredths of a second behind Hirscher. France’s Thomas Fanara finished third for his second GS podium of the season. Full results are here.
The giant slalom in Adelboden marked Hirscher’s attempt to reclaim the top podium spot after he opened the 2018-19 season with three-straight GS wins. Hirscher then dropped out of the top three, placing sixth in the fourth installment in Saalbach back in December.
At the conclusion of the first run in Adelboden, Kristoffersen clung to a slim .12 hundredths of a second lead over Hirscher. When asked about having to go “all in” on his second run after the race, Hirscher explained his strategy.
“It’s always important to give 100%, and on the other hand, to have [the] perfect setup on my feet,” Hirsher explained. “And it worked amazing on my second run.”
Knowing he had to compete with Hirscher, Kristoffersen went all in when he blasted out of the start gate for his opening run. Kristoffersen was in full control of his line through the midsection of the course. Only as he made his final turn toward the finish did it appear his body was starting to feel the punishment of the mountain. The Norwegian elicited an audible gasp from the grandstand when he caught more air than he may have expected, just two gates from the finish.
Tommy Ford laid down some impressive first tracks for U.S. skiers, positioning himself in 5th, .39 hundredths of a second behind the lead, after his opening run. Ford made a play for the podium, placing third after finishing his second run with a “rough ride” as he called it as he caught his breathe at the bottom. Unfortunately for Ford, at that point too many heavy hitters remained in the start gate. Ford finished in sixth, a personal best a Adelboden, on a course which Hirscher described after the race as “maybe the hardest GS in the world.”
Also skiing for the U.S., Ted Ligety showed his grit as he battled pain to finish the day in 16th. Ligety’s health continues to be his biggest hurdle. He underwent back surgery which ended his 2016-17 World Cup season, but the five-time GS Crystal Globe winner was able to bounce back for the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics. His best finish this season came in Beaver Creek, when he finished 7th in the GS.
Tomorrow in Adelboden, the men are back on the slopes competing in slalom. Watch the second run on Olympic Channel or stream it on NBC Sports Gold at 7:30 a.m. EST.
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