ALPINE SKIING: The broom: Hirscher nearly sweeps Alta Badia & Saalbach

Austria's Marcel Hirscher (Photo: Jonas Ericcsoon via Wikipedia)

Only injury is going to keep Austria’s Marcel Hirscher from an eighth straight overall World Cup title. He is simply too good for everyone else and after stops in Alta Badia (ITA) and Saalbach-Hinterglemm (AUT), he won three of four races to increase his lead to nearly three full races with less than a third of the schedule completed.

In Alta Badia, he won the Giant Slalom by more than two seconds (!) over France’s Thomas Fanara and Alexis Pinturault and then took the first Parallel Giant Slalom from France’s Thibaut Favrot in the final. In Saalbach, he slipped back in the Giant Slalom, finishing sixth (still worth 40 World Cup points), but came back on Thursday to win the Slalom over Swiss Loic Meillard.

He now has 620 points to 352 for Kristoffersen heading into Sunday’s Slalom – in which he will be favored – in Madonna di Campiglio (ITA).

In the women’s races in Val Gardena (ITA), Slovenian star Ilka Stuhec, back from a devastating left knee injury in October 2017, won both the Downhill and Super-G for the eighth and ninth World Cup wins in her career. The 2017 World Champion in the Downhill, if she remains healthy, she too could become a dominant force on the women’s circuit in the speed events. Summaries:

FIS Alpine World Cup
Alta Badia (ITA) ~ 16-17 December 2018
(Full results here)

Men’s Giant Slalom: 1. Marcel Hirscher (AUT), 2:32.29; 2. Thomas Fanara (FRA), 2:34.82; 3. Alexis Pinturault (FRA), 2:34.98; 4. Manuel Feller (AUT), 2:35.01; 5. Tommy Ford (USA), 2:35.08. Also in the top 25: 16. Ryan Cochran-Siegle (USA), 2:36.10; … 24. River Radamus (USA), 2:37.40.

Men’s Parallel Giant Slalom: 1. Hirscher (AUT); 2. Thibaut Favrot (FRA); Small Final: Alexis Pinturault (FRA); 4. Matts Olson (SWE).

FIS Alpine World Cup
Saalbach (AUT) ~ 19-20 December 2018
(Full results here)

Men’s Giant Slalom: 1. Zan Kranjec (SLO), 2:50.08; 2. Loic Meillard (SUI), 2:50.27; 3. Mathieu Faivre (FRA), 2:50.58; 4. Stefan Luitz (GER), 2:50.66; 5. Fanara (FRA), 2:50.80. Also in the top 25: 14. Ford (USA), 2:52.70; 15. Ted Ligety (USA), 2:52.96.

Men’s Slalom: 1. Marcel Hirscher (AUT), 1:54.98; 2. Meillard (SUI), 1:55.36; 3. Henrik Kristoffersen (NOR), 1:55.45; 4. Manuel Feller (AUT), 1:55.63; 5. Michael Matt (AUT), 1:55.76.

FIS Alpine World Cup
Val Gardena (ITA) ~ 18-19 December 2018
(Full results here)

Women’s Downhill: 1. Ilka Stuhec (SLO), 1:22.81; 2. Nicol Delago (ITA), 1:22.95; 3. Ramona Siebenhofer (AUT), 1:23.32; 4. Jasmine Flury (SUI), 1:23.68; 5. Michaela Wenig (GER), 1:23.70.

Women’s Super-G: 1. Stuhec (SLO), 1:31.87; 2. Tina Weirather (LIE), 1:31.92; 3. Nicole Schmidhofer (AUT), 1:31.92; 4. Flury (SUI), 1:31.93; 5. Ragnhild Mowinckel (NOR), 1:32.11.