The curse of “3” shakes an incredible slalom night, giving repeating emotions to around 19.000 people on the Canalone Miramonti slope. Swiss Daniel Yule wins his first World Cup slalom in Madonna di Campiglio after a thrilling second run, whose course was set by his own trainer Matteo Joris. Two Austrians finished behind of him, surprisingly none of whom named Marcel Hirscher. Claiming the fellow podium spots were two Austrian athletes yet not the great Marcel Hirscher: second place for Marco Schwarz and third place for Michael Matt don’t quite balance the frustration by the man who rarely fails - but this time, it happened.
He was aiming for his third win in Madonna, Hirscher, but during the second run he broke down his run in the early part of the slope, where other athletes went to meet the same destiny. Among them, few minutes before Hirscher, Norwegian Henrik Kristoffersen, who even fell victim of the third gate: both athletes’ quest for a third win in Madonna is now pushed a year forward.
It’s been like domino effect. It’s hard to recall a World Cup slalom where both Hirscher and Kristoffersen ended out of contention, and that speaks volumes about the surprising outcome of this 65th edition of Audi FIS Ski World Cup Night Slalom in Madonna di Campiglio.
“That’s incredible – told winner Yule – I was already excited for a podium spot, I couldn’t imagine such a twist of fate.” A Swiss on the top step of the podium in a World Cup slalom was not seen since 2007 (Marc Gini in Reiteralm).
Anyway, surprises also came from the bottom of the starting order. The perfect Canalone Miramonti slope - confirmed among the excellences on the World scale, thanks to the professional team taking care of it - allowed many late starters to find a top-30 spot and qualify for the decisive run. Among those, an outstanding Giuliano Razzoli: the 2010 Olympic Gold Medallist returned after three years of issues that brought him on the verge of retirement. Starting with bib 69, the Italian finished 5th, and looked emotional after the race: “To come back after such a tough juncture was a huge effort, but this result rewards me of everything".
The Italian team could be satisfied with their effort, with five athletes qualified for the second run, and a solid sixth place by Manfred Moelgg to go with Razzoli’s fifth. Youngster Alex Vinatzer, who surprisingly ranked eighth and the best Italian after the first run, then threw it all away in the second run, risking slightly too much and ending his quest for a new personal best roughly halfway through his effort. Few regrets for Stefano Gross, DNF but affected by physical issues, whilst Simon Maurberger can be content with his 20th place.