Austria’s world champion Claudia Loesch and Great Britain’s Millie Knight ended competition at the Para alpine skiing World Cup in Innerkrems unbeaten on Sunday (15 January), with respective victories in the women’s super combined sitting and visually impaired.
Loesch, who secured wins in two downhill and one super-G over the past days, dominated with two leading runs to claim her place at the top of the rankings. The Austrian finished ahead of Japan’s Momoka Muraoka in second, who managed to capitalise on a disappointing slalom run from German Paralympic champion Anna Schaffelhuber. The Netherlands’ Linda van Impelen was third as Schaffelhuber finished fifth.
There was another exciting conclusion in the men’s sitting, as skiers try and find form ahead of the 2017 World Para Alpine Skiing Championships in Tarvisio, Italy, from 22 January. Switzerland’s Christoph Kunz, riding high after his first World Cup victory in three years from Saturday (14 January), registered the fastest super-G time. However Kunz faltered in the slalom, finishing fifth as Japan’s Taiki Morii went quickest. But it was not enough to unseat Kunz and the Swiss finished first overall ahead of Morii in second. Germany’s George Kreiter, the world title holder, was third.
Knight also rounded off her campaign with her fourth consecutive win from Innerkrems in the women’s visually impaired, guided by Brett Wild. Leading in both the slalom and super-G, Knight triumphed ahead of Slovakia’s Henrieta Farkasova and guide Natalia Subrtova in second. Knight’s teammate Kelly Gallagher, guided by Gary Smith, was third.
Knight now leads the rankings in all disciplines heading into the next World Cup in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, from 18 January, except for the giant slalom where she is second to Farkasova. The final day of the first set of IPC World Cup Speed races in Innerkrems saw Millie Knight and guide Brett Wild high on confidence and they continued their winning streak making it four golds out of four races as well as scoring another zero points. Kelly Gallacher and guide Gary Smith managed to fight their way into third place after a brilliant second run.
Afterwards Brett commented “I am extremely pleased with how Millie and I raced over the last four races. I knew speed was our strength but we had to fight for the wins due to tough competition” “We hope we can take the confidence from these races and use that in the World Championships just under a week away.”
Millie Knight added “Having felt strong in the Super G run we were in a good place going into the slalom. Slalom not being my preferred discipline, I was slightly apprehensive but we fought for every split second down the slalom” “What an 18th birthday present a World Cup Gold medal!”
Slovakia’s world champion Miroslav Haraus finally got the win he had been waiting for in the men’s visually impaired. Having finished second in every other event on previous days, Haraus came back from a third placed super-G to post the fastest slalom with guide Maros Hudik. Italy’s Giacomo Bertagnolli was second, guided by Fabrizio Casal. Jakub Krako and guide Branislav Brozman rounded off the podium in third for Slovakia.
Canada’s Alana Ramsay rose to the top of her latest podium in the women’s standing. The 22-year-old has had an impressive start to the season and with her win on Sunday, Ramsay now boasts three wins across technical and speed World Cups. The USA’s Paralympic bronze medallist Stephanie Jallen was second. There was further delight for Canada as Erin Latimer claimed her first speed World Cup podium in third.
Switzerland’s Thomas Pfyl finished on the top of the men’s standing at a World Cup for the first time since 2014. Austria’s World Championships silver medallist Markus Salcher was second, leading Slovakia’s Martin France into third.
In the male stand up race Britains James Whitley continued to impress charging down the slalom from 8th place into 5th. James was half a second away second place and is really starting to make his mark on the World Cup Circuit. James Whitley said “I was very pleased with my first Super Combined today, this week has been my first speed races and I’ve definitely found a new favourite discipline.
“I think Super Combined will now be my favoured event as I love the speed and slalom. I’m feeling great after 5th place today and how close I was to the podium”
The British Parasnowsport team are not going to the next World Cup races in Slovakia as the team have decided training would be more important to get quality training prior to the World Championship.
Full results and current World Cup rankings can be viewed at www.worldparaalpineskiing.org. The World Cup in Kranjska Gora from 18-20 January will feature slalom and giant slalom. It will be the last chance for skiers to test themselves ahead of the start of the Tarvisio 2017 World Para Alpine Skiing Championships, which run from 22-31 January. More information, including a full competition schedule, livestream and live results, is available at www.tarvisio2017.com.
Live results are also available for all World Cups at www.paralympic.org/alpine-skiing/live-results.