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JO-2018: Pinturault and Muffat-Jeandet take on Hirscher in the combined

Ⓒ AFP – Fabrice COFFRINI – | (L to R) Alexis Pinturault, 2nd, Austrian Marcel Hirscher, 1st, and Victor Muffat-Jeandet, 3rd, Handset, Pyeongchang, February 13, 2018

Silver and bronze, but the gold fled to Austria: Alexis Pinturault and Victor Muffat-Jeandet tried everything against Marcel Hirscher, imperial in this handset promised slalomers, and the combiners will console themselves by bringing the 4th and 5th medals to the French clan.

The Blues had won both combined in the program of the major circuit this season, Pinturault in Bormio (Italy) in late December and Muffat-Jeandet two weeks later in Wengen (Switzerland). And the hopes were great.

“I’m just happy, proud of what we did with Victor and a great fight to get this silver medal,” said Pinturault.

Ⓒ AFP – JAVIER SORIANO – | Alexis Pinturault at the Combined Slalom, Pyeongchang, February 13, 2018

“It was tight with Marcel (Hirscher) after the descent, I knew it was going to be played very little, I tried, I skied well, I made two small mistakes. reported this medal, for having dared, “added the skier Courchevel.

In the end, the result is huge, since it is only the second time that France places two skiers on the podium combined at the Games, after 1948 in St Moritz (with Henri Oreiller gold and James Couttet 3rd). Then, for 70 years, it was the desert.

Until Tuesday so. Where the triumph would have been total without Hirscher, and without a shortened descent.

– Damaged descendants –

Because the weather conditions have forced the organizers to review the course and to remove a score of seconds of descent, further strengthening the chances of the Austrian, the best slalomeur in the world.

Ⓒ AFP – Fabrice COFFRINI – | Austrian Marcel Hirscher on the downhill of the handset, Pyeongchang, February 13, 2018

Because of the wind, the start of the descent has been given since that of the super-G and the jumps have been erased or attenuated. In this context, Hirscher only conceded 1 sec 32 / 100th in the speed race, won in 1 min 19 sec 24 / 100th by the young German Thomas Dressen, already winner of the Kitzbühel’s flagship descent in January.

This is one of the limits of an event condemned by the International Ski Federation (FIS) and which must disappear from the program of the World Cup for the season 2019-2020: it favors technicians.

Second in the Dressen downhill at 7 / 100th, Norwegian Aksel Lund Svindal, double combined world champion (2009/2011), did not even bother to start the slalom …

“The downhill did not have an advantage, it was short and without the jumps,” regretted the Italian Dominik Paris, eighth in the morning of the descent, before going out in the slalom round like most of his fellow runners .

– Great Muffat-Jeandet –

Ⓒ AFP – JAVIER SORIANO – | Victor Muffat-Jeandet during the descent of the handset, in Pyeongchang, February 13, 2018

Muffat-Jeandet took advantage of it. The skier from Val d’Isère comes back from far, only 29th of the descent. In fact, his luck.

At 11 / 100th, the bronze medalist would have played the slalom in the second group, on a degraded track. Twenty-ninth, he was instead sloping into 2nd position on perfect snow, to hang a grand podium.

Pinturault, himself, author of a “good descent” in his own words, can now focus on the giant, his favorite event, scheduled next Sunday.

Returning from injury, Thomas Mermillod Blondin finished sixth, 48/100 off the podium, confirming French masters and density in the discipline.

But what about Hirscher, the executioner?

The Austrian celebrated the farewell of the alpine combined at the Winter Games with the first Olympic gold medal of his career.

The six-time winner of the Alpine Ski World Cup, silver medalist in slalom at the Sochi Games in 2014, will not regret this event, Olympic since 1936, unlike the French who had made it their preserve in recent years in the Cup the world of downhill skiing.

Too busy in the slalom and giant slalom that he dominates outrageously, Hirscher had not contested any more handset since his silver medal at the 2017 Worlds in St Moritz (Switzerland).

Ⓒ AFP – Martin BERNETTI – | Austria’s Marcel Hirscher celebrates his victory at the handset in Pyeongchang on February 13, 2018

“It’s a dream come true,” said Hirscher. “Everyone expected me to win a gold medal, especially in Austria, my country, where skiing is a major sport, the descent was incredible, I think it was the best run of my career. On the slalom I managed to find the right line, so I’m really happy with the result today. ”

Hirscher has launched his campaign, before the giant and slalom he will approach as a favorite.

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