Austria's Hirscher goes home a champion
Courtesy of www.fisalpine.com
Lenzerheide, Switzerland (SportsNetwork.com) - It was a banner day for Austrian Marcel Hirscher. Coming down the mountain as the last racer in the season final slalom race in Lenzerheide (SUI), Hirscher topped German Felix Neureuther by 0.76 seconds and earned the slalom season title. The small globe was awarded just before Hirsher was formally awarded the Big Globe for the overall season title, which he secured after yesterday's giant slalom.
"It was really important to me to win the slalom title, but I never expected I would be that fast today," Hirscher said after the race. "The last few races I was always behind, so today was a big surprise for me because the others have been skiing so fast. I knew I had to give more than 100% after Felix finished his run."
It has been a fantastic week of racing at this year's races in Lenzerheide, hardly any clouds in the sky and nearly ideal snow conditions for all the races provided a perfect backdrop to end the 2014 Audi FIS Alpine World Cup. But on Sunday, the weather took a turn for the worse and decided to once again test everyone's patience and give athletes one last challenging race before they could officially wrap up the season.
With the Overall secured by Hirscher after the giant slalom all the attention turned to who would be taking home the slalom title.
Going into today's race, Neureuther was leading Hirscher by five points, making it a tight battle for the discipline title and after the first run it was hardly any clearer who might be the one to take home the slalom title. On an extremely long and turny course, set by the Hirscher's coach Michael Pircher, the Austrian clocked the fastest run but Neureuther didn't let him go too far ahead and finished only 0.06 behind. The rest of the field struggled to find the right pace and the next fastest time went to Olympic champion Mario Matt who was already 1.03 seconds behind the fastest time.
"I don't think I lost the small globe today, it was probably a few races ago when I had a chance to build my lead a little more," said Neureuther. "But I am still very satisfied with the season."
That trio held their same positions after the final run, with only Neureuther losing significant time on the second run after Hirsher had a blistering speed on his winning run. The three stood on the last podium of the 2013-14 season.
After today's race, the top three on the slalom season were Hirscher, finishing 15 points ahead of Neureuther and a very happy Norwegian Henrik Kristoffersen taking third place on the season.
In the overall title, Hirscher closed the season 131 points ahead of Svindal. France's Alexis Pinturault took third in the overall standings nearly 200 points behind Hirscher.
03/16 12:40:19 ET