December 22nd, 2016
Spectacular 3Tre in Madonna di Campiglio dominated by the Norwegian over the Austrian. Stefano Gross claims the third step of the podium, but the Italian party is completed by Moelgg’s fourth place and Thaler’s ninth. Sixteen-thousand fans celebrate on the Canalone Miramonti
Henrik Kristoffersen stronger than anyone else, even a strongly-motivated Marcel Hirscher, who has to delay the appointment with his 20th World Cup slalom success: the Norwegian was a deserving winner of 3Tre, after being the fastest after both runs, claiming the second success in a row in Madonna di Campiglio. It might be just the beginning, considering that he is only 22. Only two athletes could win this race twice in a row before, and they were named Ingemar Stenmark and Alberto Tomba, two authentic icons of alpine ski.
Stefano Gross was stronger than the suffering for a painful back on the run to a wonderful third place, first italian on the podium after an eleven-year drought – from Giorgio Rocca’s success in 2005. “Sometimes – the athlete from Trentino said – what looks impossible suddenly becomes real. The magic atmosphere of Campiglio and the extraordinary push by the public gave me strenght. Such a result can change a whole season, particularly with all the big slalom appointments in store in January.”
The 3Tre verdict is clear. Kristoffersen and Hirscher belong to a different dimension, but behind them there is a beautiful Italy, with three athletes in the top ten after an exciting and tense second run. In addition to Gross, Manfred Moelgg claimed a beautiful and convincing fourth place. And then, the ninth place for evergreen Patrick Thaler. There is nothing better to make the happiness of 16.000 people explode, in the memory of that fantastic Italian hat-trick of 40 years ago in Madonna di Campiglio. Radici first, Gros second, Thoeni third.
The emotion was great, just like the satisfaction of the organizing committee: such a beautiful 3Tre was the best way to honor the 50th anniversary of the FIS World Cup, of whom the 3Tre has been part all the way – and hopefully for much longer. The Campiglio’s organizing committee gave its best to prepare a perfect field of play, in spite of the lack of snowfalls. After a night like this, the snow will eventually come.
Marcel Hirscher leaves Campiglio satisfied, despite the near miss: “I was a little sick these last few days, and I can’t feel disappointed about a second place in such a high-level race.” Kristoffersen has that happy-go-lucky look of a youngster who has fun in surprising the World, time after time: “Being in the list of those who won twice in a row here is a feat I still need to prove myself worthy of.” The two giants of slalom had nothing more to say, except that they are happy and eager to go back home to enjoy a serene Christmas. And to return to Campiglio in exactly a year: December 22nd, 2017.