Hirscher wins World Cup slalom in Bulgaria
Aspen, CO Colorado
BANSKO, Bulgaria – Austria’s Marcel Hirscher won his second race in two days, capturing a slalom Sunday and drawing closer to the overall lead in the World Cup standings.
Hirscher was in front after the first run on the Banderitsa course and won in a combined time of 1 minute, 52.64 seconds. Austria’s Mario Matt finished with the second-best time but was disqualified for a gate infringement.
That lifted Sweden’s Andre Myhrer into second, 0.57 seconds back, while Italy’s Stefano Gross was third, 0.90 seconds behind. The top U.S. skiers were Nolan Kasper (sixth) and Ted Ligety (seventh).
Hirscher is now just 18 points behind leader Ivica Kostelic in the overall standings, with the Croatian sidelined with a knee injury. The two victories in Bansko helped Hirscher overtake his other leading contender, Swiss speed skier Beat Feuz, who rested this weekend after his downhill victory in Sochi.
“I try to do my best,” Hirscher said. “What I’m doing is to let the skis run.”
While Kostelic is out for several weeks after surgery on his right knee, Hirscher doesn’t want to start eyeing the crystal globe given to the overall World Cup winner just yet.
“We will see,” he said. “For me it is important to stay stable on the course and take the curves in the best possible way.”
Kasper of Warren, Vt., put together a fast second run, climbing from 23rd place after the first run for his fifth top-10 finish.
“It was a good, although difficult, race,” he said. “The snow was pretty soft due to the sunny weather. In the second run I managed to compensate for the disappointing first run.”
After a superb second run, Japan’s Naoki Yuasa climbed from 16th to fifth. Germany’s Felix Neureuther was third after the first run but skied out in the afternoon. So did Jens Byggmark of Sweden, who was seventh in the morning.
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In some ways, it’s hard to believe it’s been five years since Beaver Creek and Birds of Prey hosted the 2015 FIS Alpine World Championships. It feels like it’s been five years since March and the outbreak of COVID-19.