KRISTOFFERSEN WINS THE KANDHAR ON SUNDAY 31 JANUARY 2021
Norwegian Henrik Kristoffersen wins the second slalom of the weekend on the Verte des Houches.
Leader at the end of the first race, Henrik Kristoffersen held his position until the end, ahead of the Swiss riders Ramon Zenhaeusern (+0.28) and Sandro Simonet (+0.66). Victor Muffat-Jeandet finishes 4th, whereas Alexis Pinturault, 2nd of the first run, finishes 8th. Clément Noël, didn't qualify for the second heat and didn't repeat his good performance of the day before.
A change of atmosphere today, the Chamonix mountains have reappeared in the scenery of the Chamonix-Mont-Blanc Valley, with their peaks bleached by the snow of the last few days and lit by a sun that has finally returned.
The changes in temperature demanded intense work which again started very early: at 4am the volunteers were already at the smoothing!
A new and very different day awaited the 69 riders engaged in this last slalom before the world championships. And even if the 15 000 spectators still didn't reappear, the atmosphere seemed much warmer and more festive with the big blue sky and the still present images of the victory, the day before, of the Frenchman Clément Noël!
New context and new blank page for the riders, the cards have been redistributed. No Clément Noël in the 2nd round, yesterday's winner was at fault in the first line! On the contrary, Henrik Kristoffersen, who had ridden at the second gate yesterday and was still on a series of bad performances, has put an end to this series by winning the first race on this twisty course imagined by the Englishman Tristan Glasse-Davies.
Alexis Pinturault immediately showed himself with the 2nd fastest time in the first race, whereas the Austrian metronome Marco Schwarz was also present with the 3rd fastest time. Luca Aerni, who has done an incredible comeback yesterday, continues on his way with the 4th time, 53 hundredths behind the leader.
The 2nd stage took place in dreamy weather conditions. First to take off was the very promising Sandro Simonet who made an incredible comeback and took 3rd place. Started in 15th position, Victor Muffat-Jeandet was inspired by the Swiss rider and almost achieved the exploit by finishing 2nd. Marco Schwarz, on the other hand, wasn't able to adapt to the evolution of the track and posted the 21 fastest time of the race, he dropped back to 6th place just like Alexis Pinturault who finished 8th again with the 22nd time. Constant Ramon Zenhaeusern takes his 2nd podium of the weekend with a new 2nd place that satisfies him completely. As for Henrik Kristoffersen, he seems to have found himself totally with the safe and composed skiing that he is known for. By perfectly managing his lead, he takes a superb victory at the foot of the Mont Blanc just before the world championships!
Reactions of Henrik Kristoffersen
"This is a very special day. It's good to win again even if in the end it's only 5 races that I haven't won! On this snow, my equipment is perfectly adjusted, it's the best there is so I can express myself fully and as I'm not too bad a skier... For the 2nd round I knew I had to give it my all. I saw Ramon's time, I saw Foos-Solevaag's time and I calculated that I could reasonably win. I am happy because I was able to show who I am in Chamonix. Alexis was eagerly awaited and if he doesn't hurt himself he will win the globe this year. He really deserves it, he is the most complete. He skis extremely well in giant, super G and slalom. I felt sorry for him last year so I wish him success this season."
The reactions of Ramon Zenhaeusern
"What a weekend! The snow was really very different from yesterday... I knew that if I wanted to be on the podium again, I had to risk everything because I was top passive in the first run. It's not easy because you also have to know how to follow the line because the track was marked, while generating speed. We really have to thank the organisation who managed to put out two great races despite the weather of the last few days! I'm also very happy for Sandro, he had never before managed to show his potential: it's incredible to share the podium with him".
A word from Fabien Saguez National Technical Director of French Skiing
"Congratulations to the organisers, everyone really did a fantastic job. Difficult conditions in terms of weather, hyper-reactive teams, inexhaustible energy on the edge of the slope, all the coaches from the Mont-Blanc Committee, from Haute-Savoie, from the surrounding clubs who were there, it really is a great ski festival despite the fact that this year there was no public. I really want to congratulate Chamonix Mont-Blanc and its organising committee for these 2 superb races, including a French victory... and it was important for us to win at home".
A word from Fred Comte, director of the Chamonix Sports Club
"We are super happy to have succeeded in these two races! It's a real challenge to organize competitions when the temperatures are not negative, but in the end we took the right decisions all together (putting water, smoothing, salting...) We can think that it was easy today compared to the day before but at 4 o'clock this morning, we were 60 on the track to smooth and remove the snow that fell last night. A big thank you to all the coaches and all the young people who came to help us. We finish the weekend in the sun, with 2 very nice winners and we are now looking forward to the World Championships and the next edition in 2023".
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