Aleksander A. Kilde and Sofia Goggia collected the Crystal Globes for the Downhill discipline
The Àliga course in El Tarter passed the first litmus test of the Alpine Skiing World Cup Finals Andorra 2023 on Wednesday: The men’s and women’s Downhill competition. The best male and female skiers in the world competed on a sunny day and on a course in good condition where speeds exceeding 130 km/h were registered.
In the men's category, even though the Crystal Globe has already been awarded to Norwegian Aleksander A. Kilde, who came sixth this Wednesday, the winner of the competition was the Austrian Vincent Kriechmayr (1:26.59), who finished second in the overall standings for the discipline. Third position in DH was for the season's most dominant racer, the Swiss racer Marco Odermatt, who, even though he aspired to getting maximum points in this race, finished in fifteenth place in the end. The race podium was completed by two Germans on this Wednesday: Romed Baumann and Andreas Sander finished behind the winner with a difference of nine and 13 hundredths of a second, respectively.
On the course, Kriechmayr said that after the two training sessions the track "was fantastic” on Wednesday and he praised the organisers for the excellent preparation of the course. For his part, Kilde, who retained the title of DH champion that he already won last season, attributed his consistency to the work put in by his whole team. He also declared that it has been an "incredible season", given the fierce competition with his rivals.
The loudest applause of the day went to the Frenchman Johan Clarey, who retires at the age of 42 after a sports career spanning almost 20 years. Clarey, who finished fourth in the Downhill overall this season, equalling his result in 2021, departs very satisfied with the career he has had. He highlighted that Andorra "was the perfect place to finish my career."
Stuhec wins by a significant margin on the Àliga
In the women’s Downhill, the Slovenian Ilka Stuhec (1:30.35) won the race in the Grandvalira ski area on Wednesday with a well-deserved gap of more than half a second ahead of the winner of the discipline overall, the Italian Sofia Goggia, who came second, with Ilka thus breaking Sofia’s dominance after five consecutive victories. Third in the race was claimed by the Swiss Lara Gut, the strong Super-G specialist (who will fight for that category’s Crystal Globe on Thursday) but who finished the season in sixth position in Downhill. The Slovenian skier stated that "winning is always good and especially in a place like this" and added that it "was a fair race for everyone."
In the overall DH classification Goggia and Stuhec already had first and second places guaranteed. But the race on Wednesday was key to deciding third place: the Italian Elena Curtoni’s fall caused her to miss out on that position, which in the end went to the Swiss racer Corine Suter, despite having finished 12th on the Àliga. Goggia, who lifted the fourth Crystal Globe of her career, was visibly proud of the significant milestone and results she achieved throughout the season. For the Italian, the fact that the Àliga course did not pose major difficulties was challenging for exactly that reason, as it forced her to be very focused and to ski in a different way. That's why she stated that "the course has helped me be a better skier and, that’s why, I am very happy to have achieved second position." Goggia thanked the organisers for ensuring that the course was in great condition, but also advocated that Andorra should be able to hold a World Cup event during the months of January or February, to allow for competition to be held under winter snow conditions.
A decisive day on the Àliga on Thursday: Women’s Super-G Crystal Globe at stake
The Àliga course will provide thrilling action this Thursday from 10:00h, with the last competition on the Super-G circuit: the Globe for this category is yet to be decided, as the points standings for the first positions are finely balanced. In addition, the competition will see the first appearance of Mikaela Siffrin at these World Cup Finals.
An event that keeps going even after the competitions
As one of the country’s most important sporting events, there must be no lack of leisure activities to enable you to continue enjoying the World Cup over and above the sporting competitions. Once the races are finished and the awards are presented, après-ski takes centre stage.
A major new feature for this edition of the Finals is the World Cup Village, a dedicated area on the Soldeu platform over the weekend of the 18th and 19th of March, where spectators will be able to visit and enjoy stands with merchandising from top ski brands, spaces made available for games, various talks, food and other parallel activities. Also, you will be able to enjoy a free concert from Los 40 "On the Road" (Top 40 music radio network) from 14:00h to 17:00h on Saturday.
Additionally, at the country's leading après-ski venue, L’Abarset, strategically located at the bottom of the El Tarter cable car, offers music options daily once the competitions have finished. The star guest in 2023 is DJ WADE, who will be leading the entertainment with electronic music on the evening - night of Saturday the 18th of March. A spectacular performance is guaranteed thanks to the Andalusian DJ’s involvement, who is currently a leading global reference for tech and is currently the most in-demand DJ in Spain. But not everything ends here. The same L’Abarset will be the venue for the festive-entertainment events that attracts the greatest number of people: the public draw for the first 15 bibs of the Women's Slalom and Men's Giant Slalom competitions, races that will take place the following day on the Avet course. In this case, the event will be on Friday the 17th, starting at 19:00h, including the participation of the racers and with free entry.
Finally, for anyone that loves alpine skiing, from Friday and until the last day, various autograph signing sessions will take place, so that you will be able to get to know some of your idols up close.
All the details of the activities are in this link:
Agenda for Thursday, 16th March:
- Women’s SG (10:00h, Àliga course, El Tarter)
- Men’s SG (11:30h, Àliga course, El Tarter)
- Autograph signing with Dominik Paris (14:00h SG, Hotel Nòrdic terrace, El Tarter)
- Après-ski at L’Abarset Paskman and Blade (16:00h to 22:00h, El Tarter)