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29 January 2013

Podium News - 29 January 2013

Our weekly round-up plus more British success on the world stage

FIS Alpine World Cup

Kitzbühel’s Hahnenkamm may be the most famous, and most feared, race on the World Cup Downhill circuit. For the athletes, a victory here means more than any other race. On Saturday 26 January Dominik Paris (Italy) clocked the fastest time on the Streif, followed by Canadian Eric Guay and Austrian Hannes Reichelt. One day earlier, Aksel Lund Svindal took top honours in the Super G, the Norwegian skier having now won three out of four races in this discipline this season. The huge crowds of locals had plenty to cheer about on Sunday though, with current overall World Cup leader Marcel Hirscher winning gold and continuing his string of podium placings.

While Tina Maze has already collected the title of Giant Slalom champion for this season, the return of Lindsey Vonn following her hiatus is keeping the Ladies World Cup very interesting indeed. Vonn, who is now rumoured to be dating golfer Tiger Woods, edged out Maze by just 0.08s in the GS in Maribor this past weekend.

Slovenia’s Tina Maze, skiing on home soil, made amends the following day though. She skied superbly in both runs of the Slalom, almost a second ahead of her nearest competitor. Her overall lead in the World Cup standings is huge, and she’s already got the 2000 point single-season record in her sights.

Henrik Harlaut: Men's Ski Big Air

Winter X Games Aspen

While there can be a tendency by some to wax hyperbolic about each X Games being bigger, better and revolutionising action sports more than the last, the latest instalment of this institution had some notable highlights nonetheless. Shaun White rode to his sixth consecutive gold in the Men’s Snowboard Superpipe event with a 98.00. The rider who got closest to White’s near-perfect score was diminutive Ayumu Hirano from Japan, an X Games rookie who at 14 is nearly half Shaun White’s age, and will no doubt be one to watch.

The big story in skiing was the Men’s Big Air, which saw a number of athletes attempting tricks before seen in competition. The trick that landed Henrik Harlaut in the top spot - a nose-butter triple cork 1620 - he hadn’t even attempted before Saturday’s jam-style finals.

Men’s Ski Slopestyle saw British freestyle star James Woods qualifying in top spot, and skiing extremely well in a tight final to take home a bronze medal. The result means that Woods moves from second to first in the AFP Men’s Slopestyle World Ranking. Read more about Woodsy’s fantastic result on Ski Club News.

Emily Sarsfield
Britain's number one Sk Cross athlete Emily Sarsfield has been competing at FIS events in the Czech Republic

Snowboardcross and Ski Cross

The FIS Snowboard World Championships have been taking place at Stoneham in Canada, with bitterly cold temperatures for the Snowboardcross event on Saturday 26 January. British racer Zoe Gillings battled through the quarter-finals before being knocked out in the semi-finals. She finished tenth overall, a good result considering that she was hampered by pile-ups of riders at times. Gillings is in 7th place in the World Cup Snowboarcross standings.

There has been Ski Cross action back on this side of the Atlantic, with Emily Sarsfield picking up a second placing at a FIS event at Karolinka in the Czech Republic. For Sarsfield, who regularly competes at World Cup level in Ski Cross, these smaller events are an opportunity to gain more experience in knock-out round Ski Cross competition. There’s plenty more Ski Cross action coming up, with Germany hosting back-to-back World Cup races, followed by an Olympic test event in Sochi.

Yannick Green
Yannick Green on course at the FIS Speed Ski World Cup

FIS Speed Ski World Cup

British speedsters have been in Vars, France for the Speed Ski World Cup. The Chambrieres piste is renowned for being one of the steepest and fastest in the world. Team GB had five athletes attending, with Benja Hedley competing in Speed 1 – the fastest category where competitors wear rubber suits and use 238cm skis. It was his first race in this category. British skiers in the Speed Downhill category (alpine catsuits and 225cm skis) did very well, with Jan Farrell and Yannick Green making it through to quarter-finals. Marc Poncin, who is a veteran of this discipline where skiers can exceed 200km/ph, was the fastest Brit, finishing fourth overall.

Cross-country skiing

Scottish cross-country skier Andrew Musgrave has impressed at the FIS World Under-23 Championships in Liberec, Czech Republic. In the 15km time trial Musgrave narrowly missed out on a spot on the podium, after a close-fought battle. Another young skier from Aberdeenshire, Andrew Young, finished in 26th – well up on his current ranking.

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