Marcel Hirscher wins World Cup slalom for weekend double
ADELBODEN, Switzerland (AP) — Marcel Hirscher completed a perfect World Cup weekend by winning a slalom Sunday to extend the six-time defending overall champion’s lead in the standings.
Retaining his first-run lead, just as he did in Saturday’s giant slalom, Hirscher was 0.13 seconds faster than his Austria teammate Michael Matt on a tricky soft racing surface on a warm day.
“This was a really, really hard race,” said Hirscher, who was losing time through the series of gates to the finish.
Henrik Kristoffersen trailed Hirscher by 0.16 to complete the same podium places as a slalom Thursday at Zagreb, Croatia.
Hirscher’s third win in four days was also a fourth straight in traditional slalom this season and 52nd of a stellar career. The winning streak has survived a series of mistakes in the second runs.
“The clock is always for me on the right side. Especially today I thought, ‘Huh? Really?’” said Hirscher.
Kristoffersen, who won the Adelboden slalom the past two years, now has nine podium finishes without a win in a season increasingly dominated by his big rival. The Norwegian is runner-up to Hirscher in the three season-long standings that they compete in.
“It’s starting to be harder and harder to answer questions now,” acknowledged the 24-year-old Kristoffersen, who said he could not explain why he trailed by 0.71 after the first run.
Waiting in the finish area, Kristoffersen and Matt shared expressions of weary acceptance that Hirscher had hung on for victory yet again before applauding him.
Hirscher spread his arms out wide to soak up applause from a vibrant Swiss crowd at a storied course where the Austrian star has now won seven times in his World Cup reign.
Still, the 28-year-old Hirscher lacks an Olympic title heading to the Pyeonchang Games in South Korea next month when he should start favorite in slalom and giant slalom.
At the 2014 Sochi Olympic slalom, Hirscher took silver and Kristoffersen bronze behind Mario Matt, the now-retired elder brother of Michael.
Swiss fans have gone a full decade since seeing a home winner at Adelboden. Touted prospect Loic Meillard was the best Swiss racer Sunday, finishing 1.56 back in eighth.
The World Cup circuit moves on to nearby Wengen for a three-race meeting including the historic Lauberhorn downhill on Saturday.