Dhe worst was behind Linus Straßer early in the day. The worst was not the second round of the World Cup slalom in Cortina d’Ampezzo, not 15th place in the final standings, just a few tenths of a second ahead of the unknown Russian Simon Efimow. The worst thing for him had been the first run a few hours earlier. “ The day was made for me: It’s my circumstances, it’s my slope. I really wanted to, ”he said.
But with 28 years and many years of World Cup experience, the ski racer also knows that this is sometimes “the crux”. “ The n you start to step on the gas in a stupid manner” instead of “calmly attacking from a calm center,” he said. The result: A 23rd place in the interim ranking, so Straßer had no chance, especially since the starting order had been changed due to the warm weather and the expected decreasing slope. Not the 30th of the first round, but the 15th opened the final run.
When Straßer finally swung out of the way on Sunday, the slalom had long been decided. The Norwegian Sebastian Voss-Solevaag won ahead of the Austrian Adrian Pertl and his compatriot Henrik Kristoffersen.
The downward trend for Munich continued in Cortina d’Ampezzo, which had become apparent after his victory in Zagreb and second place for Adelboden in the most recent World Cup slaloms.
“Go home with your head held high”
But unlike in most of the previous title fights, it no longer depended on the last competition or even the final slalom whether the German alpines would return home in good spirits. Since 2015 there have only been medals for the German Ski Association (DSV) in the technical disciplines, those races that are traditionally held at the end of a major event.
This time the work was already done, a medal from Straßer would only have spruced up the World Cup record of three silver and one bronze in the team event. “We can go home safely with our heads held high,” says DSV Alpine Director Wolfgang Maier. Sometimes you “surprised yourself” at this World Cup. “We were the highlight team in many disciplines.”
Especially in the fast ones. The team that was ridiculed not so long ago won a medal in both disciplines for the first time. The successes of the high-speed section in the first week were even welcomed in Austria, but probably only because Vincent Kriechmayr was a bit faster than the fastest German in both disciplines. The “Kronenzeitung” wrote of the “German ski miracle”.
The re were major events when the DSV started with better advance performances. At the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang three years ago, for example. Thomas Dreßen had only just won in Kitzbühel, and Josef Ferstl had won the Super-G in Val Gardena a few months before that. And Viktoria Rebensburg was the dominant giant slalom rider of the winter with three victories so far – in the most important race of the winter, however, she was fourth to miss a medal. This time it was the other way around. In the World Cup this winter, only Straßer and once Alexander Schmid finished third in the parallel race from Lech on the podium.
“We can classify the services”
World Championships or Olympic Games are only snapshots, but medals shine more beautifully and attract more attention than World Cup victories. In the association’s internal assessment of the season, however, they do not play as big a role as they do in public. “We can classify the services,” says Maier. The ones at the World Cup and those in the World Cup.
This includes that Kira Weidle’s silver medal in the downhill cannot hide the problems facing women. “We’re not really competitive here,” Maier admits. Weidle is the only world class athlete on the team. Germany is no longer represented in the giant slalom after Viktoria Rebensburg’s resignation. And in slalom, the team has been on the spot for years.
For the Alpinchef, this is less due to errors in the system, but rather to the many injuries. He also thinks that women’s ski racing is not so popular right now, in Germany, but also internationally. “It has become a very masculine sport, very combat-oriented,” says Maier. He also holds a high risk of injury. “That’s not where most young, modern women want to be.” Spoiled by the golden times of Katja Seizinger or Maria Höfl-Riesch, Maier knows that it will be a few years before other women besides Kira Weidle can keep up with sport again can. With the more successful German men and the best in the world.