Saturday, 14.12.2013: Extremely steep, extremely icy, extremely tight course and extremely poor visibility – a piste full of extremes. These were the conditions our men faced in the Giant Slalom in Val d'Isère on Saturday.
Conditions which proved to be too much for several of the top favourites in the first run. Our French racer Thomas Fanara, however, was an exception and clinched second place in front of a home crowd – his best World Cup result to date.
He started out in the first run with bib number three but he was the first to cross the finish line. Only 18 metres between the gates and an icy slope. "The setup has to be perfect and everything has to work together smoothly," says the Frenchman, who went into the race with a new type of ski plate – RACE BOOSTER. "What makes our RACE BOOSTER so special is the fact that instead of the rigid construction, a flexible, three-part design enables maximum ski flex at the centre of the ski which in turn results in a previously unimaginable concentration of power. This gives you faster turn initiation and a sharper turn," says Fischer Racing Director Siegi Voglreiter, commenting on the innovation.
Fanara was highly focused in the second leg and a remarkable run earned him second place. "Years ago when I was a young boy, the trainer at my local club always used to say: "There's no such thing as difficult, icy slopes, there are just bad racers." I learned from him that it is important not to be intimidated by slopes or conditions – and this is what I try to achieve. Sunday, 15.12.2013:
Fanara was not the only one to put in a strong performance this weekend, he was joined by Thaler (ITA) and Grange (FRA). Going into the race with bib numbers 14 (Thaler) and 21 (Grange), the two athletes – who both love difficult, icy slopes – were in second and third place, respectively, after the first run.
27 out of a total of 68 athletes skied out in the first run, showing how difficult the hill is that faced the Slalom specialists this Sunday.
At the end of the race Grange was in fourth place and Thaler finished in third, equalling his previous best World Cup result in Kitzbühel. "It's fantastic that I made it to the podium. I'm absolutely delighted with third place! It's a great feeling to be standing up there at last!" Mölgg (ITA) was likewise among the top ten and his fast, explosive style took him to eighth in the final standings.
The overall performance of the Fischer team in the SL was impressive: 3rd place for Patrick Thaler (ITA), 4th Jean-Baptiste Grange (FRA), 8th Manfred Mölgg (ITA), 12th Reinfried Herbst (AUT), 13th Anton Lahdenperä (SWE), 18th Julien Cousineau (CAN), 19th Markus Vogel (SUI), 27th Alexander Khoroshilov (RUS), 27th Ivica Kostelić (CRO).