Last week, Val Thorens and Les Menuires hosted the World Citizen Championships in Downhill, Super G, GS and Slalom. The event, held every 2 years, saw the participation of 20 nations with an action packed programme. …Â
The week started with Downhill training and racing on 3rd of February in difficult conditions as there were gusts of winds up to 100km/h at the start; fortunately these were blowing downhill! In the menâ€™s race, Tom Auer (France) took the lead to win the title of World Citizen Downhill Champion, 1.24 seconds ahead of Emilien Delor (France) who came 2nd, 0.03 seconds ahead of Stefano Zucchi (Italy). The womenâ€™s race was won by Jessica Poeltl (Austria), who was 0.54 seconds ahead of Cara Brown (Great Britain). In 3rd place was Marie Theres Schoepf (Germany), who was 0.96 seconds behind the winning time.Â Cara Brown on her Downhill race: â€œI was slightly disappointed by my performance in the Downhill. I was going for gold! I was yellow flagged on my race run and the weather had worsened by the time I had made it back to the top for my rerun. I skied well but made a mistake on the last steep which cost me the win.â€
The Super G event was rescheduled to Tuesday, following Mondayâ€™s Downhill because of potentially bad weather on Wednesday. The womenâ€™s race saw Cara Brown being crowned World Citizen Super G Champion followed by team mates Olivia Poccard Marion (Australia) in 2nd and Rachelle Rogers (Great Britain) in 3rd. These three girls have been training with Orsatus, a team based in France with athletes who represent various nations. In the menâ€™s race, Paolo Bonardo (Italy) took 1st place, followed by Stefano Zucchi (Italy) in 2nd and Florian Fiedler (Austria) in 3rd. The organisers decided to run another SG race, which saw Brown, Poccard Marion and Rogers on the podium again in the same order!Â Â Rogers commented â€œIt was great to be on the podium with Olivia and Cara, itâ€™s not common to have a podium consisting entirely of your team! Iâ€™m pleased with how I skied, especially considering I havenâ€™t had the opportunity to ski much on my new skis compared with other girls, so it was good to get to do 2 full length runs on them.â€
Next up was the Giant Slalom event, held on Thursday. The weather was perfect; clear skis and sunshine. However, before racing, a lot of work needed to be done because of fresh snow that had fallen overnight. After lots of course slipping, the hard snow eventually came through. In the menâ€™s race Alberto Chiappa (Italy) took the lead, 0.75 seconds ahead of Nicholas Moynihan (Great Britain). In 3rd place was Hugo Salerno (France). The other British racers competing were Billy Major, Jai Geyer, Alexander Adamson and Christian Jensen. Major had a strong performance finishing 12th from bib 21, scoring 59.23 points; whilst the others all DNFed. In the womenâ€™s race, Cara Brown continued her form shown in the speed events by winning the race and scoring her PB of 43.36 FIS points, with an impressive lead of 2.19 seconds ahead of Spainâ€™s Anna Diaz-Prieto in 2nd and Matilde Minotto (Italy) in 3rd. Unfortunately, Rachelle Rogers did the first run but found it difficult as she was ill, so she decided not to compete in the 2nd run.Â Cara was thrilled with her performance in the Giant Slalom: â€œI couldnâ€™t believe it after my first run when I saw my 1.4 second lead! The course was very fast and set pretty straight which suited me down to the ground. I knew I had to keep my cool for second run as the race wasnâ€™t over yet. The course second run held up really well and I was over the moon when I saw the little 1 next to my name in the finish area and that I had also won the second run. It was my first ever race where I was happy with both my runs.â€
The final event of the week was the Slalom. In the menâ€™s race Chiappa won the race, only 0.1 seconds ahead of Quentin Paget (France) in 2nd place. In 3rd place was Nicholas Moynihan who was only just behind Paget, with a time that was 0.19 seconds off the lead. Many of the men who had good 1st runs struggled to maintain their positions in the 2nd run. Major and Geyer DNFed, whilst Adamson finished 29th with bib 75, scoring a PB. In the womenâ€™s race, Rachelle Rogers achieved her 1st win of the season, ahead of team mate Cara Brown in 2nd and Matilde Minotto in 3rd. Brown scored another PB of 48.44 points.Â Rogers explained â€œThe couse was a pretty straight set, but this was understandable given how heavily it was snowing! I had a clean 1st run, but felt I could have gone faster. On the 2nd run, the course was pretty straight again, I put the handbreak on probably due to nerves and just didn’t have the same fluidity as the 1st run. I’m pleased anyhow because I wasn’t having an easy time as I was still feeling peaky.â€Â Cara added: â€œI had a good first run and was sat in 6thÂ so I was determined to close the gap between me and the podium in the second run. Iâ€™m not really sure what I did differently in my second run but it worked as I won the run by nearly a second! I canâ€™t believe I scored a sub 50 in slalom as this time last year I was struggling to get my first sub 100!â€
Unfortunately, due to their respective participation in European Cups, Rogers and Moynihan could not bring home World Citizen Championships medals that they would have otherwise earnt in the Super G, GS and Slalom events. Moynihan competed in his 1st European Cup in Trysil, Norway at the end of November and has since competed in both Slalom and GS ECs in Austria and France. Rogers had her European Cup debut in Sestriere, Italy at the end of January. The medals were therefore passed down to the next eligible competitors, which in the womens slalom meant that Cara Brown claimed the gold medal for Great Britain,Â putting the cherry on the cake as she won 4/4 medals at the World Citizen Championships. This week, Brown has showed consistency and her potential as a multi-discipline skier.Â Cara sums up her week for us: â€œThis week has definitely been the highlight of my skiing career so far. Itâ€™s great to get some good results and some podiums. Iâ€™ve still got a long way to go though so I need to keep training and racing and use my results this week as a boost to keep me going.â€
Britain’s recent performances on the CIT circuit and at the CIT World Champs have been strong and have helped Britain climb the rankings of the Arnold Lunn World Cup. The performances of Sofia Iglina, Alexander Adamson, Billy Major, Jai Geyer, Nick Moynihan, Rachelle Rogers and Cara Brown have all hugely benefitted GBâ€™s rankings in the Combloux and Les Menuires races. Provided that Cara Brown gets all her CIT points from these races Britain should move sharply up the rankings and be close to last years end of season target! Britain was present on the 6 out of 8 podiums this week, surprising a few other nations. Overall, it was great week for Britain, proving that they can easily keep up with other skiing Nations.