IT WAS CLEARLY a tough race for the 131 athletes that competed in the men’s Giant Slalom, but the top 30 athletes from the first run still managed to put on a good show, ending with a second gold medal for Loïc Meillard, Switzerland.
The first run had 131 athletes but 28 of them failed to make it across the finish line. And there was a lot of lactic acid in the finish area at the end of the race.
“It was the worst thing I’ve ever done. It was bumpy and I had a hard time staying in my line,” said Guillherme Grahn, competing for Brazil, wearing bib 93 in the first run.
The second run was delayed for half an hour so the slope officials could prepare the course. And it did hold up well in the circumstances.
“I think it lasted well in the second run. It was even better than the first because it wasn’t as bumpy,” Grahn continued.
The Norwegian team had a good day and had five athletes in the top 30 for the second run. With eleven athletes to go, Fabian Wilkens Solheim was in second place and Aage Solheim was in first. That really boosted the confidence of Timon Haugan who was fifth after the first run, and he managed to push through to the lead.
“To see the others do so well just gives me such a boost, and that goes not just for my teammates but for all my friends in other teams as well,” says Haugan, who was understandably pleased with his second run.
”It was pretty bumpy but it was still good, you just needed to decide where to set your tracks. That was my focus,” he continued.
Haugan stayed in the lead until the final athlete in the top 30, Loïc Meillard, crossed the line. Meillard already had one gold medal from the men’s Alpine Combined, and he showed great form in the Giant Slalom as well, keeping his lead all the way to the end, pushing ahead of Haugan by 57-hundredths of a second.
“It’s very cool. I really wanted to win the Giant Slalom, it was my main goal in these Championships and to get it feels great,” said Meillard, who is doing his final ”Juniors” and will go home with at least two wins to his name.
From a start number of 1, Charlie Raposo fought his way into 6th overall with Laurie Taylor adding to his growing reputation in taking 19th from a start number of 61. Billy Major and Robert Poth finished in 31st and 55th respectively.
Full results are available at www.are2017.com.