Kristoffersen comes from 12th to win in Madonna for the third time

Henrik Kristoffersen produced one of the greatest comebacks of his career to go from 12th after the first run to win for the third time in Madonna di Campiglio. First run leader and fellow Norwegian Sebastian Foss Solevaag took second place and Italian Alex Vinatzer took third. Manuel Feller and Clement Noel finished fourth and fifth. Quinn Estates sponsored racer, Dave Ryding placed 21st.

Foss-Solevaag had used his early start on the first run to optimum effect as he bettered the time of the first racer down and winner of the race for the last two years, Daniel Yule of Switzerland, by over three quarters of a second. early numbers would definitely have the advantage but it was Foss-Solevaag who was the only racer to take full advantage of it. It was little surprise that the highest number to qualify for the second run was Sebastian Holzmann from Germany with bib 43.

JB Grange, twice a World Champion and one of the Grand Statesmen of the Slalom tour, was the first racer to really put his mark on the second run. From 25th after the first run, the Frenchman held the lead for a long time, inching his way up the results, eventually placing sixth.

Kristoffersen said after the race that his first run had made him look as if he was 'afraid', it was 'horrible' he said. Come the second run and he was a changed racer. Kristoffersen is a strong racer down steep sections as he dedicates a lot of time in training to perfecting his technique on steep sections. If run one had been bad, run two was the opposite as he stormed into the lead.

Vinatzer came down and went into second and with two more racers to go, you could see the dismay written across his face as he felt he had missed out on a podium place. Winner of Alta Badia, Ramon Zenhausern came down and slid out of contention with a few mistakes.

Norway or Norway for the race win it would be.

Standing at the start, Foss-Solevaag knew that despite a one and a quarter second lead over his compatriot, he could not relax. He knew he had to push and that despite the course being colder and a little straighter, he still had to go for it if he wanted to win his first World Cup race.

Kristoffersen had been sublime on the steep. His run was not the fastest on the second run, that honour went for the second race in a row to Kristoffer Jakobsen from Sweden as he pulled himself up from 26th to tenth.

The lack of atmosphere that is normally generated by the crowd played its part in the race. Not even the presence of Alberto Tomba in the finish, described by Kristoffersen as 'the greatest rock star of the sport,' could raise the atmosphere.

Kristoffersen recognised that the second run had seen him have an advantage by starting earlier but respected the performances put in by both Vinatzer and Foss Solevaag as they had started at the end when conditions were not as great.

Despite sitting in the leaders enclosure, Kristoffersen was still unsure as to whether his time would stand the test of time.

While it was a few degrees cooler at the end of the race than it had been earlier, the huge variation in positions from first run to second will have many looking at the technique of Kristoffersen as well as trying to understand the feeling of skiing on soft snow. The Norwegian team do train a lot on salted slopes but you can expect the racers to be studying the runs of Zenhausern in Alta Badia and Kristoffersen in Madonna to understand how they can get better by Zagreb.

Certainly the likes of Pinturault, Noel and the Austrians Feller and Schwaretz will all be training hard over the festive period.

As for the British racers, Ryding was a little perplexed at the end of his first run that saw him go into joint thirteenth place while despite really attacking and looking to sneak into the 30, neither Laurie Taylor (41st) or Billy Major (48th) were able to make it in.

Ryding had been on the mark at the top on the first run, just 0.08 behind Foss-Solevaag but then seemed to give the steep a little too much respect and consequently lost time.

On the second run, the feeling was that despite quickly getting into his stride, Ryding struggled again on the second section, as he had done on the first run.

21st is not a disaster. It shows what we, his fans, expect him to achieve. Ryding has finished 7th and 4th in the last two visits to Madonna and like when the tour visits Levi, we hope for a great result. Ryding is still just in the top 15 starters on the World Cup Start List for Zagreb on January 6. January is and month for the Slalom racers as they have six races before the World Championships in Cortina d'Ampezzo in February.

Kristoffersen is back in the red bib with this win but he now has Feller, Zenhausern, Vinatzer and Foll-Solevaag on his tail. It is shaping up to be an intriguing Slalom World Cup. After the race Kristoffersen said: "I think I have never been this emotional after a win before. I have a family and skiing — and that’s my life. I don’t have anything else."

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