At the start of the Gurgl slalom Linus Straßer clearly missed the podium due to two big mistakes. Climate activists are making trouble with Manuel Feller’s victory.
Linus Straßer clearly missed the podium in the first men’s World Cup race of the season due to two big mistakes. At the premiere in Gurgl, Austria, the driver from Monaco only finished ninth. He was 1.56 seconds behind winner Manuel Feller.
“The placing is very disappointing,” said Straßer after his second lap: “I knew beforehand that I was still at the level where I wanted to be at the front. But I’m on the right path and this too will come.”
Before the start Straßer was full of expectations for the “dream start” in Gurgl. “The track is fantastic, everything is there”, anticipated the driver of the TSV 1860 Monaco. For the first time in his career Straßer opened a World Cup match, but after just eight goals the shock followed: an internal skiing error cost Straßer a lot of time.
“Pretty stupid”: Straßer too aggressive
“It was rather stupid. I wanted to attack, but it was a bit much,” Straßer later analyzed: “After that I threw my plan overboard and decided to let the skis run.” Despite his mistake, Straßer was only 0.67 seconds away from third place after the first run and was therefore optimistic: “There is still something in it.”
But the devil of the mistake was also on the skis in the second run. Halfway through the second run Straßer was late hitting a pole and had to put his skis to the side. The great comeback did not materialize; the Beijing Olympic silver medalist however struggled with his performance at the finish line.
Austria celebrates the triple triumph
Meanwhile, Austrian Feller took his large lead of one second to the finish line in front of the home crowd. Two more Austrians, Marco Schwarz and Michael Matt, completed the podium and made it a perfect day for the hosts.
Holzmann in 15th place: “I can do better”
The second German, Sebastian Holzmann, had two solid rounds and finished 15th. “I entered well and found a great rhythm,” the 2023 World Cup fifth-place finisher said of his second round: “If I score, I will be much later “Then I stopped skiing and obviously when you arrive it gets a bit sticky. I’ll take him with me, but I can do better.” Remaining German drivers Linus Witte and Anton Tremmel both retired early in the first round due to driving errors.
Disruption due to climate protests
Shortly before the end there were problems. The “Last Generation” climate activists protested on the finishing track and scattered colored powder. Norwegian Henrik Kristoffersen, who had already reached the finish line, then angrily attacked the activists and was held back by security personnel.
Climate activists in the finish area of the slalom course
“If I were starting now, I would be so shocked,” ARD expert Felix Neureuther said of the campaign. “As far as I’m concerned, you should have a peaceful discussion. Let’s talk, or something.” The race was interrupted for a few minutes, then the finish area was passable again.