Mathis rises to the podium
20 year old Marcel Mathis produced the run of his life in the second run in the World Cup Giant Slalom in Bansko, Bulgaria. In the first World Cup Giant Slalom since Adelboden on January 9, Mathis stormed down the second run to grab the lead and then let the rest attack his combined time. Mathis had only arrived in the resort late the night before fresh from coming second in the Europa Cup Giant Slalom in Oberjoch. While Marcel Hirschere won the race ahead of Max Blardone, Aksel Lund Svindal also took fourth for the HEAD World Cup Rebels as Ted Ligety crashed on the second run after leading.
Austrian HEAD World Cup rebel Marcel Mathis is a racer to watch. Just sixteen days before the Bansko race he had wrapped up the Austrian Junior Giant Slalom title and has also been making great strides forward in the Europa Cup series. Starting 35 in the race, Mathis just made the second run in 26th spot. Yet the way he powered down the second run gave the rest of the field a lot to think of. No one would match his second run time and it took until Blardone came down for him to be dislodged from the lead overall.
Mathis grinned from ear to ear as the following racers passed him on their way out of the finish area. As some of the big names in the sport crashed out Mathis admitted that he had been more nervous on the course than he had watching the top racers coming down. After the race he added “It's great to be on the podium for the first time, I'm trying hard, I have worked hard the whole year. It's just great to be on the podium.”
With the weather playing its trump card again with cold and wind, the course did get the thumbs up from Ligety: “It's a cool hill,” Ligety said. “It's pretty technical and never really super flat, and not a really super steep hill either. It's a good hill where...you can generate some speed.” And this was from the man who had been leading after the first run before making a mistake in the compression and hiking before making the finish in 27th spot. A cut to the face will be his memory of Bansko in 2012.
1. Marcel Hirscher (AUT)
2. Massimiliano Blardone (ITA)
3. Marcel Mathis (AUT) HEAD
4. Aksel Lund Svindal (NOR) HEAD
13. Florian Eisath (ITA) HEAD
23. Kjetil Jansrud (NOR) HEAD
27. Ted Ligety (USA) HEAD