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Alpine skiing: Kristoffersen smiling: That’s why Hirscher is so strong

Alpine skiing: Kristoffersen smiling: That's why Hirscher is so strong

Winter Sports

Alpine skiing: Kristoffersen smiling: That’s why Hirscher is so strong

Marcel Hirscher has described his 60th World Cup victory in alpine ski racing as “surreal”. “That’s indescribable,” said the 29-year-old from Salzburg after his premiere victory on Saturday in the giant slalom in Val d’Isere. “Marcel may also have the father power,” said permanent rival Henrik Kristoffersen with a smile, noting that the Salzburg native had become even faster with his child.

Hirscher took a short time to think about his career in Val d’Isere. In 2009 he won his first race in Hochsavoyen. “Never really sick, never hurt, never failed. I’ve driven every race I’ve ever wanted. That’s, I think, a lot of reason to say thank you.” At the beginning of his career, he would have dismissed the prediction of a World Cup victory at this level as “completely foolish and crazy”. “It’d be madness to expect anything like that.”

ÖSV Racing Director Andreas Puelacher bowed. “Marcel is simply the measure of all things in giant slalom. Especially when the conditions are like this, when it’s really hard and demanding, then Marcel is probably hard to beat at the moment.” The expectations of Hirscher at the beginning of the season were low due to his changed family circumstances. But he’s still going after the competition again. “He’s a pro. When Marcel is at the start, he becomes a racing tiger. Get everything you need to get out. In form it is very, very hard to beat,” said Puelacher.

The nice thing is that he’s no longer doing the math, but simply attacking properly, said Hirscher about his clear victory ahead of his Norwegian permanent rival Kristoffersen. The current looseness comes from the fact that things are going well. “There’s nothing to be nervous about. But skiing is certainly no longer the most important thing. I have been able to achieve everything I have ever dreamed of in this sport. Everything that comes along is insanely classic. But if it shouldn’t be like this anymore, you can’t change it. The will is there, but no longer the compulsion.”

Hirscher expects Kristoffersen to become a difficult opponent to beat in the course of the season. “Henrik is brutally involved in the whole story. I’m sure he owns the future. He’s a gifted skier, it’s only a matter of time.” The Norwegian was satisfied with second place after mistakes in the first run. “After the first run, the victory was over. Marcel was better today, he’s the best skier in the world right now.” He wondered if the audience at home really knew how strong Marcel was. “It’s unbelievable. I try everything I can.”

It is a fight that will continue in the slalom on Sunday. The signs, however, predict even more difficult conditions. “It’s extremely good for me, as it’s snowing right now, because I’m a snow-loving person,” said Hirscher about the permanent snowfall in Val d’Isere. “But if I imagine that it will snow eighty centimeters by tomorrow, then it will certainly be exciting. I hope there’s a race. But it’s supposed to be fair and not dangerous. For all the workers, it will be another long night.” The route has already been shortened.

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