CORTINA D’AMPEZZO, Italy (AP) – The Norwegian ski team arrived at the world championships without many of its stars getting injured. It goes on Sunday with two gold and bronze medals.
Sebastian Foss-Solevåg won the final, men’s slalom, while compatriot Henrik Kristoffersen won bronze.
The success came four days after Foss-Solevåg led Norway to gold in the team event.
“It’s a dream, two gold medals at Cortina. That’s incredible, “he said.
The Norwegian team lost Aleksander Aamodt Kilde, Adrian Smiseth Sejersted, Lucas Braathen and Atle Lie McGrath, all due to knee injuries, which mainly affected his chances in the giant speed and slalom event.
“We have had too many accidents, too many injuries,” said Foss-Solevåg. “With a small team we have two gold medals, that’s very good.”
Foss-Solevåg had his runaway season on the World Cup circuit, with four top-five finishes including his first win, in Flachau, Austria, last month.
On Sunday, he was third after the opening round, close behind surprise leaders Adrian Pertl of Austria and Alex Vinzatzer of Italy, before clocking down the fastest time in the final lap.
Pertl ended 0.21 seconds behind to get silver, while Vinatzer dropped to fourth, losing the podium by 0.74.
“It’s amazing to finish like this,” said Foss-Solevåg. “I know the two guys up front can put it together too, but I struggled from start to bottom and I did it.”
Foss-Solevåg became Norway’s first slalom world champion since Tom Stiansen won the title in 1997.
Kristoffersen, last season’s World Cup slalom champion, contributed to Norway’s success story.
Sixth after the first round, he moved up three spots and finished 0.46th behind Foss-Solevåg to earn a slalom medal in the world for the first time. He was fourth in 2015 and 2017.
“Gold for Sebastian certainly has more value than my bronze,” said Kristoffersen, who travels the World Cup circuit with his own team.
“But I am very satisfied. You get on the podium, then you have to say that you are satisfied, “he added. “Now I have Olympic medals and world championships in slalom and GS. It’s not bad at all. “
Austria have won five of the six slalom medals in the last two worlds, both times with retired outstanding Marcel Hirscher taking gold, and Pertl coming close to continuing his streak.
Pertl was chosen too late by the Austrian coach to complete a squad of four, which also includes World Cup winners Marco Schwarz, Manuel Feller and Michael Matt.
Pertl triumphed over another up-and-coming prospect, Fabian Gstrein, in what appeared to be a surprising choice by the team. Gstrein was fastest in qualifying for the parallel race last Tuesday and finished the event in sixth, while Pertl did not complete the qualifying round.
“I have to fight even to start today,” said Pertl, who won the best third World Cup result. “And now a silver medal. It was incredible.”
Many of the pre-race favorites fought on the demanding Druscié pitch.
Schwarz, who leads the World Cup slalom standings, is eyeing his second gold after winning the combined title.
However, the Austrian took the lead with 0.57 seconds in the final leg as he crossed the gate.
Clément Noël also failed to complete his run when the Frenchman slipped off the court with an inside ski boot in the middle of his final run.
Despite the warm temperatures, the sundeck held up well and provided late starters in the opening laps with a chance to race into the top 15.
In an unusual move to provide the best possible course conditions for leading skiers, organizers decided that not the top 30 but only 15 of the fastest skiers from the first leg opened the second round in reverse order.
That means riders who finish the first leg 16th or lower have almost no chance of winning a medal.
Wearing bib No. 43, Jett Seymour slid to 10th while his American teammate Luke Winters started 38 and finished 15th, although both straddled the gate on their final lap.
With its second gold, Norway joins France in third place in the overall world medals table. Only Austria (five) and Switzerland (three) have won more events.
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