Sweden’s Myhrer wins World Cup slalom for 3rd
career victory; Austria’s Hirscher skies out.
Andre Myhrer of Sweden won the season’s penultimate men’s World Cup slalom Sunday, while Marcel Hirscher of Austria straddled a gate in the opening run and failed to score points for the overall championship.
Myhrer held on to his lead after the first run and finished in an aggregate time of 1 minute, 40.99 seconds to win his first title of the season and third overall.
Myhrer beat second-place Cristian Deville of Italy by 0.49. Alexis Pinturault of France was 14th after the opening run before a blistering final run saw him jump to third, 0.58 behind.
“It was a good day, I had a good feeling starting No. 1,” Myhrer said. “The skiing has been there all season but the top spot wasn’t there so I really went for that today.”
Defending overall champion Ivica Kostelic of Croatia finished 16th to extend his lead in the slalom standings over Hirscher to 50 points. Myhrer is now another 16 points back in third with one race remaining.
“It’s great to be there in the fight for the globe,” Myhrer said. “It will be tough but I am going to try my best. Ivica and Marcel are also in for the overall title so maybe they get a bit nervous.”
Mike Janyk of Whistler, B.C., was 19th and Brad Spence of Calgary was 26th.
Hirscher was 0.09 behind Myhrer at the first intermediate time but skied out shortly afterward.
As a result, Beat Feuz of Switzerland, who skipped the race, remains in the overall lead with 1,250 points. Hirscher is second with 1,195 and Kostelic third with 1,064. Fourth-placed Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway is also in contention for the World Cup’s biggest prize on 1,031 points.
There are four races left at the World Cup finals in Schladming, Austria, from Wednesday until Sunday. A win in each event is worth 100 points.
“The fight for the overall title is more or less over now,” Hirscher said. “I can relax a bit now and will do what I like the best — go out and just fully attack.”
It was the fourth time in 10 slaloms this season that Hirscher failed to finish. The Austrian, who won five of the other six races, said his aggressive style of skiing includes the risk of straddling gates, which leads to an immediate disqualification.
“This style of skiing has also won me a couple of races,” Hirscher said. “It’s part of the game. Of course I could have held back a bit more, but finishing 10th or so doesn’t bring me many points for the big crystal globe.”
Kostelic could have clinched the slalom title by finishing first or second, but dropped from 8th position after the opening run to 16th. The Croat returned this weekend from a four-week break following knee surgery and complained about his back hurting.
“After Marcel went out, I put pressure on myself to score as many points as possible,” Kostelic said. “That’s not the way I like to ski, it slowed me down. It will get tight next week.”
Will Brandenburg of the United States had two clean runs and finished sixth for his best career result.
“It’s been a long two years of trying to break through and get to that result. I am really excited,” said Brandenburg, whose previous best on the World Cup circuit was 22nd in a slalom in Adelboden, Switzerland, in January.
“I tried to keep a positive attitude this season and keep moving forward from race to race,” he said. “I have the speed but sometimes I take too much risks. Today I skied smart. My coaches and I have worked a lot on my line and tactics. I took the right tactics today. That was a great day.”
American teammate Ted Ligety, who won the GS on the same hill Saturday, was not surprised by Brandenburg’s achievement.
“Not at all because he’s had that kind of speed for the last two years,” Ligety said. “It’s great to see him putting it together. It’s more of a surprise he didn’t have a top 10 before.”
Ligety took ninth for his third straight top-10 finish in slalom.
“I skied pretty well, especially in the second run on the top half,” the world GS champion said. “That was very good. I am happy with three top 10s in a row … I hope to move up for top 15 in the slalom standings.”
Both the men’s and women’s World Cup circuits travel to Schladming for the final races of the season. The event will open with both downhills on Wednesday.