Philipp Schorghofer beat a host of big names in the men’s giant slalom in Hinterstoder on Sunday to claim his first World Cup win and hand Austria their second victory on the circuit in as many days.
Schorghofer finished in a time of 2 minutes 46.44 seconds to beat Norway’s Kjetil Jansrud and Swiss Carlo Janka by 0.17 seconds and 0.20 seconds respectively.
A day after compatriot Hannes Reichelt won the men’s super-G, Schorghofer helped boost the morale of a team that has recently been hit by a rash of injuries.
Hans Grugger is recovering from severe head injuries following a crash at Kitzbuhel on Jan. 20, while Mario Scheiber (collarbone) and Georg Streitberger (shin) also suffered crash injuries in recent weeks.
Jansrud set out his stall for victory by dominating the first run, with Schorghofer finishing 0.35 behind and Janka at 0.55.
However, Schorghofer produced a storming second run on to claim a well-deserved first victory on the circuit.
“I’ve finally done it, it’s great,” said Schorghofer, whose best previous result was a third place 11 months ago at Garmisch-Partenkirchen, which will host the upcoming world championships.
“I’d set myself the objective of winning two or three races this season. I came close in Solden where I was leading after the first run, but the race was cancelled [because of bad weather],” he said. “Maybe at the worlds, I’ll get my chance again.”
Jansrud applauded Schorghofer’s performance.
“When you see second instead of first, obviously you’re disappointed but it’s still a privilege to be on the podium,” he said.
“Philipp was simply the strongest today,” Jansrud said, who added he will be aiming for every possible medal at the world championships.
“We don’t have a lot of skiers from Norway so that gives us the chance to participate in all the disciplines at the worlds,” he said. “I’ll be going for a medal, for sure, but I won’t be the only one. Hopefully the giant slalom or combined will give me the best chance, and maybe the super-G.”
Janka, meanwhile, showed his promise heading into the world championships, which begin today, the Olympic giant slalom champion having decided not to participate in Chamonix last weekend.
“I’m beginning to peak just at the right time for the championships,” the Swiss said. “I had really planned to finish on the podium today, although I’m still finding it difficult to last the pace over two runs.”
Ted Ligety of the US could only finish 13th but managed to hold onto his lead in the giant slalom standings with a 26-point lead over Norway’s Aksel Lund Svindal, who finished eighth.
Swiss Didier Cuche finished sixth to move up to second place in the overall World Cup standings at the expense of compatriot Silvan Zurbriggen, albeit 524 points behind series leader Ivica Kostelic of Croatia.