One week after the St. Moritz World Championships: Wendy Holdener, the just crowned Alpine Combined World champion and Michelle Gisin, the silver medallist, will be fighting for the 2016/17 crystal globe in the discipline during the last two FIS World Cup Alpine Combined events of the season, scheduled in Crans-Montana for Friday 24 and Sunday 26 February. A Super-G which will be contested on Saturday 25 February will complete a weekend full of suspense. We shouldn’t forget Ilka Stuhec SLO, Sofia Goggia ITA and Michaela Kirchgasser AUT who will be out for revenge. The organisers of the World Cup events in Crans-Montana have played their cards right in taking on immediately the Alpine Combined that was cancelled in Altenmarkt-Zauchensee AUT. The Swiss exploits in the Alpine Combined event at the 2017 Worlds in St. Moritz deserve a look back in a few pictures:
A day of emotion. Tears and laughter. Two friends on the podium, they’ve known each other since the Grand Prix Migros, the biggest children’s ski race in the world.
Wendy Holdener, World Alpine Combined champion! In 7th place after the Downhill, this 23 year old from Schwyz had a wonderful Slalom leg, even though the slalom poles didn’t allow her to demonstrate her great specialist qualities, particularly her agility and explosive skills. She thus put an end to a long period without any Swiss gold medals in the Ladies’ Worlds, the last to date was Sonja Nef’s, in the Giant in Sankt Anton AUT, back in 2001.
Michelle Gisin took Silver. In 4th place after the Downhill, the 23 year old from Obwalden had a few difficulties at the start of the Slalom, but she flew to the finish line, finishing 5 hundredths of a second behind Wendy.
Denise Feierabend climbed spectacularly; in 13th place after the Downhill, she had to pull out all the stops in the Slalom leg, and she did it successfully. She finished in 4th place, at the foot of the podium, but with her best results in World Championships, after two 6th places in the Val d’Isère Slalom in 2009 and the Combined in Garmisch in 2011. Only 44 hundredths of a second stopped Switzerland from enjoying a triple win, but this was dashed by the Austrian Michaela Kirchgasser.
The man behind the Swiss success at the St. Moritz Worlds is Hans Flatscher, head coach of the Ladies Team at Swiss-Ski. Married to a former top Swiss skier, Sonja Nef, the Austrian, who managed the Swiss Mens team for seven years, has brought great stability to the Ladies Team with his perfection and quiet manner. He, and his trainers and companions, have perfectly understood how to take the young racers to the top smoothly yet with great determination.
The last double Worlds victory dates back to 1987, and it was at the unforgettable Crans-Montana World Championships. Maria Walliser was crowned Super-G and Downhill World Champion, with Michela Figini in second place on two occasions.
In two weeks, revenge will be in the air in Crans-Montana. On the programme for the Audi FIS World Cup Ladies, two Alpine Combined events (Friday 24 and Sunday 26 February) and a Super-G (Saturday 25 February). By the end of the weekend, we’ll know the winner; the current holder is none other than…Wendy Holdener. The party, a BIG party, is sure to be a good one !
The Organising Committee in Crans-Montana warmly congratulate the champions, and also send their best wishes to Lara Gut, who injured her left knee (torn anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus lesion) during the Slalom training leg.