Bassino & Liensberger tie for Gold in Women's parallel, Faivre takes men's

After the heated discussions from Chamonix in 2020, it looked like FIS had tinkered with the format in Lech-Zürs and got it right for Parallel racing. Come Cortina and the discussion is not so much about celebrating the results of Marta Bassino and Katharina Liensberger sharing the Women's Gold with Mathieu Faivre taking the men's race but more about the maximum time gap awarded to a losing racer. Tessa Worley took the bronze in the women's race and Filip Zubcic the silver in the mens race with Loic Meillard the bronze.

With no special emphasis on The best racers getting an easier ride to the knock out rounds, the Parallel qualifying rounds saw a number of highly favoured racers not make the head to head rounds. To secure the seeding, the fastest eight from the red course and the the fastest eight from the blue course made it into the knock out stages. Into the Knock out stages went Alex Tilley for the British in seventh from the blue course.

Qualifying saw some big names head back to their hotels early including Petra Vlhova, winner of the Lech-Zürs World Cup Parallel race in November;n Lara Gut-Behrami and Sara Hector two name a few. Marta Bassino only made the cut by 0.01! Charlie Guest finished 16th on the red course and after the race explained:

"Qualifying today was a great improvement on Lech and I'm happy with the top section of my run. Its quite obvious, I'm missing a bit of the GS feeling for line and what is possible to charge. But from a technical viewpoint, I can take a bunch of positives away from today and really looking forward to stepping up again tomorrow 🙂 ... also, vibes in the start gate with such a big British representation today were some of the best I have ever experienced. It is honestly great to be part of a bigger team and the atmosphere and energy that both staff and athletes are bringing is so much fun to be part of!"

Sarah Woodward was on the Blue course but sadly failed to finish. Her coach (and serviceman at the World Championships), explained

"Sarah was very excited, focused, concentrated but skis how she skis (on the limit) and was a little off balance with the distances (20m) and tempo of the course - perfect learning experience and hungry to qualify outright for the next one in 2023 :))) Plenty learned !"

In the men's qualification, Charlie Raposo finished 13th on the Blue course, Billy Major failed to finish and Laurie Taylor was 15th on the Red course. As in the Women's race, there were some big names not making the cut: Adrien Pertl and Marco Schwarz for Austria, Justin Murisier for Switzerland and Norwegian Leif Kristian Nestvold-Haugen.

This left Alex Tilley as the sole British qualifier and she came up against Liensberger in the first knock out round.

Noel Baxter, her coach, explained: "Great to get into the KO stage. She skied well in sections. Just a bit cautious till the banana on the first run of the KO.

"I thought she skied great on the top section of the second run, hopefully she can be a bit calmer and put a good run down in the first run tomorrow in the team event."

With the blue course running slower than the red course and the racers working out that with two runs, the maximum they could be behind would be 0.50, it was all about the second run. This is something that FIS need to work on: either the maximum amount of time needs to be extended or some formula will be needed to balance the time difference out after the first run.

With World Championship medals up for grabs, some racers took the opportunity to challenge and others took the opportunity to rest.

Paula Moltzan continued her fine Parallel performances to knock Wendy Holdener out in the quarters before taking fourth after losing to Liensberger and then Tessa Worley in the small final. Moltzan had overcome a 0.50 gap on Stephanie Brunner in the first round.

Worley won an all French first round affair against Coralie Frasse-Sombet before beating Tina Robnik in the quarters and losing to Bassino in the semi Final despite the times being tied.

Bassino had knocked out second seed Meta Hrovat, then fellow Italian Brignone before Worley in the Semi Final. Bassino had the same combined time on the clock as all three opponents in her two-legged quarter-final, semi-final and final but emerged victorious in the preceding rounds having been quicker in the crucial second runs.

For Liensberger, the route to the final had seen her knock Tilley out then Maryna Gasienca-Daniel before Moltzan in the semi final. A tie in the final saw the Gold shared.

The mens knock out stages saw many believing that Loic Meillard would be the man to take the Gold after posting the fastest qualifying time but he lost out to Filip Zubcic despite having started the second run with a 0.50 advantage. He atoned for his error on taking the bronze after Alexander Schmid crashed on the second run.

Luca de Aliprandini provided the shock of the first round in knocking Marco Odermatt out while Zan Kranjec was knocked out by River radomes from the US.

With the first run pressure on the red run getting more obvious, Mathieu Faivre stole the advantage in the Final by beating Zubcic from the Blue course and then held on to win the Gold.

The event is a great public spectacle and sadly the pandemic meant that few saw the event live in person. A little tinkering still needs to be done to build it up but it is here to stay. Tomorrow is team racing

Women's results

Men's results

Many thanks to Zoom Agence for the use of the pictures

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