Schladming – The WÜRTH MODYF ISMF World Cup continued today with the penultimate Sprint race of the season. The stunning Planai Stadium in Schladming hosted a ski mountaineering race for the first time. The famous alpine skiing men’s night slalom venue became an exciting and steep track of the skimo World Cup.
The track was frozen in the morning, especially the downhill section, so athletes had to be careful because they could lose the race there. The qualification brought a big surprise. World champion Oriol Cardona Coll (Spain) narrowly missed the quarter-finals.
Harrop’s sprint dominance continues
All competitors from the Top 5 of the Sprint Ranking in the women’s category made it to the finals. Sixth to go was Giulia Compagnoni of Italy, who has been in the form of her life in recent weeks.
Emily Harrop of France started very fast, and only Marianne Fatton of Switzerland could follow her. Harrop didn’t make a mistake, and she celebrated the fourth World Cup victory of the season.
“I’m happy because it’s true that I wanted to have a good comeback after the World Championships as I was a bit disappointed. Still, I won two gold medals there, but today I wanted to boost my confidence. I did well, so I’m satisfied with today’s race,” said Harrop, who has nine career World Cup wins.
Marianne Fatton crossed the finish line in second place, with the overall leader Giulia Murada right behind in the third spot. Murada is leading the Women’s World Cup by 23 points. The second overall is Célia Perillat-Pessey of France, who was sixth today.
Favre’s mistake led to Lietha’s win
On Friday evening, Arno Lietha said in the opening ceremony that he plans to sing the Swiss national anthem after the Sprint race. He has been going for this goal since qualification. In the quarter-finals and semi-finals, he controlled the race from the front without making any mistakes.
But in the final run, it seemed like his compatriot Matteo Favre was going for the premiere win of his career. Favre had a nice lead over his rivals. Unfortunately, he made a mistake on the final transition. Robin Galindo unintentionally pushed his pole. The Swiss athlete tried to grab it, but it almost went to crash, and he fell to the fourth spot.
In the finish, it was Arno Lietha first, Thibault Anselmet of France second, and Robin Galindo (also France) in third place.
“I feel very happy, but at the same time, I’m disappointed for my teammate Matteo Favre. He was the strongest but made a mistake on the top transition. But that’s the Sprint, one mistake cost you so much. Today, luck was on my side. At the World Championships, it was the opposite,” said Lietha, who is leading the Sprint World Cup by 96 points ahead of Iwan Arnold.
With just four races to go, Thibault Anselmet is leading the Men’s World Cup with a huge lead. Second Maximilien Drion du Chaopis (Belgium) is 166 points back. Third-placed Robert Antonioli is 229 points behind Anselmet.
The action in Schladming will continue on Sunday before noon with the Vertical race. The start takes place in Planai Stadium, and the course leads to the middle station of the cable car. The course is 2,2 km long with 615 metres of elevation.
You can watch the Vertical race on TV.ISMF-SKI.ORG, with the men going out at 11:15 and the women at 12:00 local time CET.