Pinturault carves his way to win number 30 on the World Cup

After the anger of some of the athletes after the Parallel race in Chamonix last season, the way the Parallel races have been redesigned has been to the credit of FIS and the hosts in Lech. Alexis Pinturault took his sixth different event win in beating Henrik Kristoffersen in the Final after an exhilarating night of entertainment. Alexander Schmid beat the last of the Austrians in the small final to take third place. Britain's Charlie Raposo had had a really promising start to the night in his attempt to make the top 16 but finished in 42nd place after getting his tips caught at the start on the second run.

Pinturault was in solid form all night as he battled his way through the rounds. The Frenchman was ahead of the racer on the other course in all of his races beating Dominik Raschner ((AUT) then Semyel Bissig (SUI) before powering past Alexander Schmid in the semi final.

First round

Round one saw Aleksander Aamodt Kilde as the highest profile casualty as Christian Hirschbuel of Austria powered past him on the second run. Thibaut Favrot, fifth after the qualification runs was another of the top seeds to not make it further as Gino Caviezel held on to win their match up.

The most intriguing first round race match up was that of Filip Zubcic, winner in Japan last year against Henrik Kristoffersen. Zubcic won the first run by 0.06 and then Kristoffersen used his strength and power to make it into the next round. With some of the big names from Sölden not having made its into the knock-out stages, Kristoffersen needed to score big to get his season back on track and could not afford an early exit.

Much was expected of young Norwegian Atle Lie McGrath who came up against one of the rising generation of young Austrians, Adrian Pertl. McGrath was given a lesson in getting the job done by the Austrian as he comprehensively beat the Norwegian.

Round 2

After the first round it was knock out all the way to decide the placings. Stefan Luitz, fastest qualifier came up against Kristoffersen. The German won the first race before Kristoffersen surged forward on the second run to go through to the next round and Luitz had to fight it out in the 5th to 8th place section.

Adrian Pertl added to his growing reputation in beating Gino Caviezel. This was Slalom specialist, Pertl, against Giant Slalom specialist, Caviezel, and it was the slalom specialist that came out best, coasting home on the second run.

Schmid gave Hirschbuehl a sound beating in the third of the quarter finals, winning the first race comfortably before extending his advantage in the second race.

The last of the quarter finals saw 22 year old Semyel Bissig, in only his fourth World Cup race and first for two seasons, powering into the course but he could not live with the technical nous of Alexis Pinturault. Pinturault was solid, clean and just ahead of the young Swiss racer.

Semi Final time

In the first of the semi finals, the battle for 5th to 8th pace, Luitz's night got worse as he won the first run before Gino Caviezel squeezed him out on the second run to make it into final for 5th and 6th while Luitz dropped to the 7th / 8th final.

The next semi final saw Hirschbuehl lose out to Bissig.

It was then on to the race for the final. Could Pertl give the small amount of Austrian's in the finish area hope for a home win given that Marco Schwarz was one of many protagonists that could not race due rot testing positive for Covid-19. Schwarz, Jusrtin Murisier, Marco Odermatt and Loic Meillard were all missing from the start list due to positive tests.

Pertl finished on the podium in the Chamonix Slalom last season after having placed eighth in Kitzbuehel. He is definitely one to watch as the season progresses but he had no answer to Kristoffersen. The Norwegian, one of four to qualify for the knock out stages but the only one to make it beyond the first round, was a man on a mission.

The second semi final saw Schmid take on Pinturault and it was the Frenchman who edged out the German in the first run before the German succumbed to the pressure on the second run and crashed out.

It would be the final that we all wanted to see: Pinturault, second fastest qualifier, against the person expected to be his main challenger for the Overall this season, Henrik Kristoffersen.

The Finals

Luitz was abele to arrest his run of loses to win the race for seventh ahead of Hirschbuehl while Bissig overcame his fellow Swiss racer, Caviezel who had lead after the first run by 0.01 seconds. Bissig won by 0.04.

Schmid put the disappointment of crashing out in the semi finals behind him as he comprehensively beat Pertl to take the last place on the podium.

race one in the final went to Pinturault and despite Kristoffersen giving it his all he could only pull 0.05 back on the Frenchman. This was his 30th World Cup win and he now has wins in six disciplines. Pinturault explained after the race that the format, much changed from the Chamonix event, was better and fairer. There is no doubt that the Lech slope had been worked on but all racers and fan want is fair racing with the racers winning by skill and determination rather than luck on what course they are on.

Pinturault leads the Overall now ahead of Kristoffersen with Sölden winner, Lucas Braathen in third.

With the double header in Val d'Isere cancelled the Men's World Cup moves to Santa Catarina in Italy for another double header Giant Slalom race on December 5 and 6.

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