The day after the skiers, the men start their Alpine Skiing World Championships on Tuesday in Courchevel with the combined, a first chance of a medal for the local hero Alexis Pinturault despite an uncertain form.
– The holder: Marco Schwarz –
After his title in 2021 in Cortina d’Ampezzo, the Austrian, winner of the small slalom globe in 2021, had been hampered by an ankle injury at the end of the year.
Since then, he has not yet regained his best level, even if he has regained some color this season, notably by finding the podium (3rd for the Schladming giant) more than two years after his last Top 3 on the circuit!
Above all, the 27-year-old skier amazed the whole circuit by taking sixth place in his first descent in January in Wengen (Switzerland), a feat on one of the circuit’s classics, illustrating perfect versatility to shine on the combined.
– The favorite: Loïc Meillard –
A highly talented skier, the 26-year-old from Valais has been living for several years in the shadow of his friend Marco Odermatt. In his absence, Meillard may have reached a psychological milestone by finally winning a World Cup giant slalom in Schladming two weeks ago.
An excellent slalomer and very comfortable in super-G (3rd at Bormio in December), Meillard is a favorite but discovers this status, he who has not yet won in the big championship. He had won two bronze medals in 2021 in Cortina (combined and parallel).
“I may have a little revenge to take but I don’t really have that in mind, I know that if I manage to show my skiing I will be fast,” said the Swiss.
– The Frenchman: Pinturault at home –
“Pintu” launches its Worlds in its station with the discipline which had made it king, world champion in 2019 in Are (Sweden). Long favorite of each combined (10 World Cup victories in the discipline), Pinturault has fallen back in the world hierarchy since his big crystal globe in 2021.
In Beijing, he had fallen during the combined slalom and was injured, finishing the Olympics diminished. The leader of the Blues comes to the start in Courchevel after having been feverish in recent days.
“Going for the podium would already be a great success in itself. But you have to be realistic, the goal for me is to give the best and we will take stock at the end,” he said.
– The number: 8 –
Like the number of skiers who decided not to compete in the women’s combined slalom on Monday, using the super-G round as a benchmark, like the Swiss Lara Gut-Behrami and the Norwegian Ragnhild Mowinckel, yet tied for second in midday.
Dropouts that left only twenty skiers at the start of the slalom and hurt the credibility of a discipline removed from the world circuit for two years by the International Ski Federation (FIS), which pays for its policy at the Worlds.
The men’s race should undergo the same scenario, as several competitors have already announced.