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Alpine Skiing: Neureuth on 21st place at Comeback

Alpine Skiing: Neureuth on 21st place at Comeback

Winter Sports

Alpine Skiing: Neureuth on 21st place at Comeback

It was not a good day for the German ski racers. Felix Neureuther still had great difficulties with his comeback after more than a year’s injury break, Stefan Luitz had a bad blow at the giant slalom in Val d’Isere in the thick snow and under the impression of his “oxygen affair” – and Viktoria Rebensburg was visibly helpless after her eighth place at the Super-G in St. Moritz.

Neureuther had more problems in his first World Cup race in almost 13 months than he could have liked and finished in 21st place. After the cruciate ligament rupture last November and the fracture of his hand three weeks ago, the 34-year-old still lacked safety in adverse conditions and a challenging track. “I didn’t ski consistently enough from top to bottom,” he said.

Neureuther had contested his last race on November 12, 2017 in Levi, Finland, and shortly afterwards he suffered a cruciate ligament rupture during training. On his return to Levi three weeks ago he had to cancel his start due to a broken thumb. For difficult conditions like in Val d’Isere, he still lacked the “naturalness, cold-bloodedness and aggressiveness,” he said, “I have to work on that.

At the 60th World Cup victory of Marcel Hirscher (Austria) Luitz was involuntarily in the spotlight. He is still threatened with losing his first World Cup victory in Beaver Creek last Sunday, where he inhaled from an oxygen cylinder between the two races – a common practice, but according to the International Ski Federation (FIS) not allowed “on site” during races.

“The last few days were already stressful,” said Luitz after the first run, but stressed that the affair had had no influence on his sporting performance. In the second run he tried with high risk to improve from eighth place, but almost dropped out and dropped back to 30th place. Best German was Alexander Schmid on place 15, Fritz Dopfer was just behind Neureuther 22.

Luitz received at least moral support from serial winner Hirscher, whom he had just beaten in Beaver Creek, even before the race. “I feel sorry for Stefan,” he said on Ö3 radio. An athlete relies on what the coaches, doctors and people in charge told him. A subsequent disqualification of Luitz would be “madness”. How the FIS will decide remains uncertain for the time being.

Hirscher himself drove in a league of his own for the time being and once again. “Marcel is incredibly strong, what a skier,” said Norwegian Henrik Kristoffersen, who was 1.18 seconds behind on Face de Bellevarde and once again placed second. Matts Olsson from Sweden finished third (+1.31). For Hirscher it was the second victory of the season, in the overall World Cup the seven-time winner is first.

What stags do to men, Mikaela Shiffrin does to women. The American, still only 23 years old, drove to her fourth victory of the season in St. Moritz, Switzerland, to her 47th overall. Lara Gut-Behrami (Switzerland/+0.28 seconds) and Tina Weirather (Liechtenstein/+0.42) took second and third place respectively. Viktoria Rebensburg, third in the Super-G of Lake Louise six days earlier, was 1.58 seconds behind.

“It’s hard to tell what the problem was. I actually felt as good as I did in Lake Louise,” said a somewhat perplexed Rebensburg. Veronique Hronek (Unterwössen) provided a pleasant surprise from a German point of view. With the high starting number 54 she was ranked 20. Patrizia Dorsch (Schellenberg) also scored World Cup points on rank 25.

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