An nexpected scenario panned out at the Audi FIS Ski World Cup giant slalom in Saalbach-Hinterglemm, with Zan Kranjec claiming a first win in career as Loïc Meillard and Mathieu Faivre complete the podium.
After earning a podium placement in Alta Badia last winter, Zan Kranjec was quite established among the best giant slalom skiers of the world, but early season, he struggled to show his best performances on race days. This is all forgotten now, as he writes skiing history, being the first male athlete of the Slovenian national team to win a giant slalom.
In second place, another newcomer made his podium debut. Switzerland’s Loïc Meillard, known as the Longines Rising Star 2018, was knocking on the podium’s door with two solid 5th places this season, and today he made the step onto his first World Cup podium. The triple junior World Champion, who was part of the Top 7 group for the first time today, will definitely be one to watch in the tech disciplines this season.
Mathieu Faivre made his return on the World Cup podium today, finishing in third position. Since the World Cup Finals in Aspen in March 2017, the Frenchman couldn’t find the momentum he had in 2017, when he finished second of the giant slalom standings. He was feeling good in the last months, but the results didn’t reflect that feeling, so with this podium, the motivation is back to keep working.
Matts Olsson, in the lead after the first run, made a big mistake at the top and skied out mid-course. Local hero Manuel Feller, who was 2nd only +0.03 behind in the first run lost a ski and couldn't finish the race. Marcel Hirscher, who was on the podium in the last 18 giant slalom races, struggled in the both runs and finished at the 6th position.
This giant slalom in Saalbach marks the end of a very intense period for the specialists of this discipline, who had five chances to score points in the last 10 days.
Wednesday's giant slalom was the replacement of the cancelled race in Sölden, and its date was move ahead only 10 days ago, when the slalom from Val d’Isère was cancelled. Despite the “last-minute” replacement and the fact that it’s a week day race, not less than 4300 spectators were present in the finish area. Another reason to look ahead to Thursday's slalom, starting at 10:00 and 13:00.
Results are available here: Saalbach-Hinterglemm GS