Spain’s 2013 world and 2002 Paralympic champion Jon Santacana Maiztegui returned to winning form in giant slalom at the World Cup level on Monday (19 December), taking his first victory since 2013 in St. Moritz, Switzerland.
Santacana Maiztegui, alongside guide Miguel Galindo, is building up to try and claim back the men’s visually impaired world title he lost in 2015. His career has been somewhat plagued by injury but Santacana Maiztegui appeared to be in good form with just over one month until the 2017 World Para Alpine Skiing Championships get underway in Tarvisio, Italy on 22 January.
Skiing in temperatures as low as -12 degrees Celsius the Santacana Maiztegui edged Slovakia’s Jakub Krako, guided by Branislav Brosman, by 0.41 seconds. Canada’s Paralympic champion Mac Marcoux and guide Jack Leitch rounded off the podium in third.
In the women’s visually impaired Great Britain’s Millie Knight followed up on her first season win in the giant slalom from Kuhtai, Austria, on Saturday (17 December). The 17-year-old, guided by Brett Wild, triumphed with two leading runs to finish first on the opening day of action in St. Moritz. Slovakia’s Henrieta Farkasova was second with guide Natalia Subrtova. Knight’s teammate Kelly Gallagher claimed her first podium of 2016-17 with third with guide Gary Smith.
In the men’s standing, French 16-year-old Arthur Bauchet made an incredible World Cup debut. The teenager posted two fastest runs to seal the win and show the rest of the field that a new contender has entered the fray. The USA’s Thomas Walsh, the third place finisher from the 2015-16 World Cup, was second. Slovakia’s Martin France was third.
Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games and Worlds silver medallist Andrea Rothfuss enjoyed stepping onto the top of her third giant slalom podium in under a week in the women’s standing. Having won both races in Kuhtai, the German moved into pole position after her second run on Monday. Slovakia’s Petra Smarzova could not hold onto her lead as Rothfuss advanced, leaving the Slovakian in second. Bigna Schmidt gave host country Switzerland something to cheer about with third.
Austria’s Sochi 2014 bronze medallist Roman Rabl also kept his winning run going in the men’s sitting, claiming his third victory of the new season. Just 0.22 seconds separated him and Germany’s reigning world champion Georg Kreiter in second. Japan’s Taiki Morii, a podium finisher from the 2015 World Championships, was third.
Germany’s Anna Schaffelhuber left her competitors behind in the women’s sitting. The Paralympic and world title holder eased to two leading runs ahead of compatriot Anna-Lena Forster and Japan’s Momoka Muraoka in second and third respectively.
Racing continues in St. Moritz on Tuesday (20 December) with a second edition of the giant slalom. Two separate slalom races then follow on Wednesday (21 December) and Thursday (22 December).
Live results are available throughout at World Para Alpine Skiing’s website: https://www.paralympic.org/alpine-skiing/live-results/info-live-results/.