KITZBUEHEL, Austria (Reuters) – Henrik Kristoffersen ended his frustrating run of second-place finishes with an empathic win in the slalom at Kitzbuehel on Sunday and, in doing so, put a stop to Marcel Hirscher’s winning run in the discipline.
The fiery Norwegian produced a combined time of one minute 48.49 seconds to beat his Austrian rival by 0.97 seconds and claim his first World Cup win of the season.
Switzerland’s Daniel Yule was third while Britain’s Dave Ryding produced the fastest run on the second leg, 52.52 seconds, to finish ninth overall.
Kristoffersen, who won at Kitzbuehel for the second time, had finished runner up in seven races this season, with Hirscher the winner in five of those.
Hirscher, on the other hand, had won the last five slaloms as well as three in the giant slalom — all despite suffering a broken ankle in a training accident in August.
Kristoffersen’s 16th World Cup win was on the cards after he was fastest on the first run and opened up a gap of 1.05 seconds over Hirscher.
Austrian Michael Matt was only 0.1 seconds behind Kristoffersen but his chances of victory ended when he skied through a gate halfway down his second run.
Despite a big advantage, Kristoffersen held nothing back on his second run and nearly crashed when he lost control and at one point had both his skies in the air.
But he survived the scare and charged down the rest of the course, beating his chest and waving his skies in the air as he crossed the finish line.
Hirscher also saw his lead cut in the overall standings as he chases a seventh successive World Cup. He now has 1054 points, 154 clear of second-placed Kristoffersen with Aksel Lund Svindal third on 666.
(Writing by Brian Homewood in Bern; Editing by Toby Davis)