Local hero Alexis Pinturault wins the first men’s gold medal at the World Ski Championships by shooting flawlessly in a duel with Marco Schwarz. The Austrians are also happy about a family history.
In the ski stadium in Courchevel, France, on Tuesday (February 7th, 2023) everything was prepared for the first big duel of this Ski World Championship 2023 in Alpine Combined: the 2019 Combined World Champion with home advantage against the 2021 Combined World Champion Alexis Pinturault from CS Courchevel against Marco Schwarz from Austria, six hundredths of a second lay between them after the Super-G. High Noon in the Savoy Alps!
Black with a big mistake before the target
Both ski racers were the best in the Super-G in the morning, but both are a bit better as technicians in the slalom. And both seem to have saved their top form for this World Cup after a mediocre season. Pinturault submitted. He swung down finely and flawlessly, but was it fast enough in the steep and heavily twisting slalom in Courchevel? That should only become apparent with Black, the number two.
The Austrian started much faster and was already on course for gold after the first split. But on the finish slope he then made this one crucial mistake, had to stop in order not to be eliminated and finally let himself be snatched gold: ten hundredths behind. The supporters in the stadium waved their France flags even more enthusiastically and cheered the new world champion Pinturault. Black was second, bronze went to Raphael Haaser (+0.44 seconds behind).
Haaser siblings with two bronze medals
Haaser therefore also made a very special family history perfect. After his sister Ricarda’s bronze medal on Monday (February 6th, 2023), he followed suit the following day. The two Atle Lie McGrath and Loic Meillard, who started with outsider chances in the slalom, had to settle for fifth and sixth place behind the American River Radamus.
On Tuesday morning there was not much to see of Pinturault’s cold, which forced him to sit out shortly before the home World Cup. On the contrary: no other driver has mastered the new, shady and difficult L’Éclipse slope as well as the Frenchman in the Super-G. Probably also because nobody knows this mountain as well as he does and has been able to train so much.
German drivers not among the top ten
And the three German drivers? They had to be satisfied with worse places, but they had already started in the Super-G at the back of the field and, like the majority of the drivers in this race on the track that had only been tried out last year, wanted to place in the Super-G and downhill in particular practice throughout the week.
Simon Jocher, who finished fifth at the World Championships in Cortina two years ago, did not make it into the top ten this time. Andreas Sander and the oldest on the course, Romed Baumann, decided not to start in the combination slalom after finishing 15th and 18th.