Pinturault returns to winning ways in taking the Garmisch Partenkirchen GS

After inclement weather that saw the start for the Downhill and then the GS both lowered, depriving the racers of about 15 gates for the GS, it was Alexis Pinturault who emerged to take the race win ahead of Loic Meillard and Leif Kristian Nestvold Haugen. The warm weather recently had meant that the course was heavily salted and this meant there was a degree on unevenness with the ruts. Filip Zubcic and Zan Kranjec placed fourth and fifth.

Pinturault was in fourth after the first run and was chasing a deficit of 0.18 on the leader Loic Meillard. Meillard was chasing a second career podium place if he could not take his first World Cup race win. With just 1.96 between first and thirtieth, there was a huge opportunity for every racer on the second run start list.

The later numbers had some encouragement to make the flip and three from outside the fifty made it in with bib 40, Simon Maurberger from Italy starting things off on the second run. The Italian did his best and posted a competitive time, eventually proving to be joint fastest, finishing in 15th place, the third time he has finished in 15th!

Ted Ligety used to eat up courses like this for breakfast bt as Father Time has caught up with him, his appearances in the there leaders enclosure have become rare. From 25th after the first run, Ligety used the clean course to post the fourth fastest time, displaying skills of his earlier years, and with this he moved up to 14th overall. Ligety had sat in the leaders seat for a time and then it became a revolving door with racers hardly having time to catch their breath before the next racer went faster.

The hopes of all German's watching as the rain started to fall was that Stefan Luitz or one of the other Germans on the second run would manage to make it a Double German win weekend.Luitz would eventually finish 89th as the best German.

Proving that it was possible to ski fast from later on in the field, Filip Zubcic matched Maurberger's time to take over ownership of the leader's seat from ninth after the first run. Kilde, Faivre, Muffat-Jeandet and Kranjec all failed to post a better time and the thoughts of maybe started to creep into the young Croatian's head.

Then came Pinturault and he went 0.35 ahead of the Croatian.Pinturault explained after the race "I think I made a strong 1st run, I tried to push, I did not take all the risks but in the second I took all the risks and that showed with my time."

Nestvold-Haugen could only slip in just behind Pinturault and then came Kristoffersen. "I had two solid runs, on the first I was trying to find my outside ski the whole way, I do not think anyone had a perfect run," explained Nestvold-Haugen after the race.

The Norwegian World GS Champion pushes himself hard but he seemed to lose his touch when deft touches were needed rather than brute force. When the clock stopped, Kristoffersen had dropped out of contention and into sixth with one to go.

That one was Loic Meillard,

Meillard is a hugely talented racer that is on the comeback from injury and was looking for his second career podium. Meillard was tentative bit that could have been a result of the conditions, coming back from a knee injury or the fact this was the lead in a World Cup race. The snow had been worked hard in order to get the downhill and Giant Slalom race off and they still have the women coming to Garmisch next week.

After the race Meillard explained that "It was definitely good and it feels good to bring two runs to the finish". Meillard knew he had made a mistake on the second run as he came into the finish pitch: "Maybe this was the worst place to make it," he reflected after the race.

With the close margins between the racers on the first run there was an immense amount of movement between there racers on the second run. Meillard did his best to stay in touch and at the line he had made second.

For Pinturault this was a first win of 2020, he won the Alpine Combined in Bormio, and a first race win in Giant Slalom since the opening race of the yearn in Soelden.

With the win and Kristoffersen finishing in seventh, Pinturault hauls himself back into the race for the Overall. Kristoffersen leads by 55 points with Kilde two points further back. Kranjec still leads the GS standings ahead of Kristoffersen and Pinturault. For Pinturault he explained after the race that the technical events are still his focus.

Sadly for Charlie Raposo there would not be a second run as he explained he made too many mistakes despite having some really good sections. It is a busy time for Raposo at the moment as he tries to combine the World Cup with the Europa Cup. Raposo has been racing in Meribel at two GS's that saw him crash out twice and this week will see him go from a Europa Cup race in Berchtesgaden before flying to Geneva to race in a World Cup Parallel GS!

The hunt for points goes on.

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