Hirscher nearly hit by falling drone; Kristoffersen wins
MADONNA DI CAMPIGLIO, Italy (AP) — A drone crash near four-time defending overall champion Marcel Hirscher marred a World Cup slalom ski race that Henrik Kristoffersen of Norway won by a massive 1.25-second margin on Tuesday.
The drone carrying a TV camera for the broadcast crew crashed to the snow during Hirscher’s second run just behind the Austrian. While Hirscher may have been hit by some small pieces, he didn’t appear to notice.
“This is horrible,” Hirscher, who finished second, said. “This can never happen again. This can be a serious injury.”
Still, Hirscher reclaimed the overall World Cup lead from Aksel Lund Svindal, who no longer races slalom.
The Olympic bronze medalist, Kristoffersen earned his sixth World Cup victory. He also became the first man to win the opening two slaloms of the season since Austria’s Reinfried Herbst six years ago.
“Madonna is a real classic. So many greats have won here — (Alberto) Tomba, (Ingemar) Stenmark,” Kristoffersen said. “To be here as a winner is unbelievable.”
Kristoffersen held a one-second lead over Hirscher after the opening run, and added to it on his second trip down the steep Canalone Miramonti course.
“I didn’t expect it to be that much,” Kristoffersen said. “I was really bumpy in the second run.”
He also edged Hirscher in Val d’Isere, France, nine days ago.
Marco Schwarz of Austria finished third, 1.59 seconds behind.
Schwarz started with the No. 33 bib and got his first podium in only his third World Cup race.
A big crowd lined both sides of the steep Canalone Miramonti course under artificial lights.
Last year’s winner, Felix Neureuther, missed a gate in his second run and failed to finish.
Showing off a rapid rhythm, Kristoffersen’s strength enabled him to maintain his balance even on a few tricky gates that were spaced differently from the others.
“The snow is really good,” Kristoffersen said. “It was really fun to ski it.”
After a holiday break, the men’s circuit resumes with a downhill in Santa Caterina Valvurva next Tuesday.