Joy for Foss-Solevaag, frustration for Noel & Ryding amongst others

Sebastian Foss-Solevaag was there to benefit from the misfortune of Clement Noel to win the Madonna di Campiglio World Cup Slalom. Alexis Pinturault took his first podium of the season in taking second with Kristoffer Jakobsen in third. The top five were rounded by Alex Vinatzer and Timon Haugen.

With so much promise, Quinn Estates sponsored racer Dave Ryding was in a great position for challenging the podium at the business end of the race. Fourth after the first run, Ryding was just 0.73 behind race leader and in close quarters of Alexis Pinturault who lead with Ryding exciting the start gate.

The top of the course was looking good as he came over onto the first pitch and started to attack. Every racer knows that moment when you pinch the line so very tightly through a verticale and then the tip of the inside ski goes the wrong side and you feel your race is done, is such a horrible feeling. There is nothing you can do. The race has gone.

This was the feeling Ryding would have felt as he attacked the last of the double gates exiting a verticale.

Gutting, heart wrenching, should destroying and yet there is nothing that you can do.

With some of his biggest rivals all out of the running, this would have been a great result but Ryding gets the same as those that did not make both runs, nothing.

If Ryding felt bad, Clement Noel was heading for a second commanding win in two racers on the World Cup when he lost his focus on the third last gate and went on his inside ski at the second late, missing the last gate. He too got nothing.

While Ryding, Noel and Kristoffersen (another to crash out on the second run, their demise meant better results for Laurie Taylor whop qualified for his second ever World Cup points score. Taylor puts in the hard graft and his switch to Head skis this season suits his aggressive and attacking style of all out racing. He is an archetypical Head Rebel.

Taylor made mistakes but also ride his luck and fought. He went for it. While he dropped a few places on the second run, he was rewarded with 25th place to go with the 24th he scored in 2020. The grin Taylor wore in the finish said it all. Not only had he scored 6 World Cup points, he also scored a 15 FIS point result that will help him when it comes to his start number on the World Cup.

So while Noel, Kristoffersen and Ryding licked their wounds from crashing out on the second run, Vinatzer, Timon Haugen and Loic Meillard (up from 29 to 6th with the fastest second run time) all picked up extra places.

Foss-Solevaag made reference to this in his post race interview as he explained how he felt for Noel. "Clement was the best skier on the hill tonight," he explained, "but these mistakes happen."

Madonna is a great race that attracts the stars of yesterday but with a restricted crowd, the atmosphere was slightly muted. The racing was the same high intensity as usual but now it is the Christmas break for all the racers.

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