Wengen tick, Kitzbuehel tick, Clement Noel is on a roll

Clement Noel admitted after he had won his second World Cup race in a week that he skis better when he is relaxed. In Wengen he lead after the first run and in Kitzbuehel he was one of the hunters as Ramon Zenhausern lead after the first run. Relaxed as he left the start gate and knowing that Hirscher had put in a super dynamic second run to be in the lead in the finish, Noel's style of racing allowed him to make it to the finish in the lead. Hirscher held on to second with Alexis Pinturault taking third and a second French double on the podium in two weeks.

With a new record number of spectators for the Slalom, 39,000, Kitzbuehel hosted the slalom on Saturday for only the second time in its career. The last time it was due to the snow conditions not allowing for a downhill in 2007 and the races came down the Zielschuss not the Ganslern. This was the first time the Slalom race had pride of place on the Saturday.

Noel looked to have taken the lead but it is was Zenhausern that lead after the first run. Hirscher was strangely off the pace down in ninth place. Hirscher seems to have had a struggle with first runs this season yet has been able to mesmorize his rivals with stunning second runs. Kitzbuehel was no different!

The first run saw a huge number of racers fail to make the finish on the first run, Laurie Taylor being one of them. Heavy snow on top of bullet hard snow caused issues but the Ganslern hill provided the large crowd with a great spectacle.

Run two saw Norwegian Jonathan Nordbotten take the lead into the TV break after 15 with Ryding sitting behind him. Ryding admitted he had not skied the first run too well, over skiing it and then his second run had been better but he had had a few mistakes.

Felix Neureuther then took the lead before the Kristoffersen raised his game to take a commanding lead. Could he hold on or would his nemesis, Hirscher, going two after him be able to out do him again?

Just when it looks like Hirscher has been caught, he raises his game again and this was the same. The challenge set by Kristoffersen and the rest of the field has seen Hirscher improve even more. First it was Yule who challenged now it is Noel, yet Hirscher just raises his game again.

Noel took the lead with Pinturault dropping to third but a mistake by Zenhausern saw him drop to sixth at the end of the race.

Asked if he was contemplating racing in GS as well and Noel admitted it was in the plan but at the moment he was focussing on his slalom. Having taken 280 points in the last three races, Noel is certainly the man to beat at the moment in Slalom. The Frenchman is 175 points behind Hirscher.

As for Ryding, he finished a solid 15th.

Full results

about author