14 months ago Adrian Pertl was not even in the European Cup, but on the FIS level. Now he is vice world champion. A development that amazes him himself. </p><div> <p>Adrian Pertl has never lacked motivation. Also at the FIS level, where everything begins for most talents. "At the start it doesn't matter whether it's an FIS race or a World Cup, you're always motivated." Just the perspective, he sometimes missed that. "A year and a half ago I would have been happy about an FIS victory, today I am slalom runner-up. That is crazy."</p>
He had problems switching to the European Cup. “I always had to fight in the European Cup to make it into the top 30.” In December 2019 he was still racing in the FIS, then came 14th place in the European Cup (“A real bright spot”), the first chance in the World Cup in Madonna – and then in Kitzbühel 2020. With start number 73, he finished eighth in Slalom ahead and that was the door opener. Because in spring he found out in a zoom meeting that he and Fabio Gstrein had now been accepted into the slalom group of technology coach Marko Pfeifer. “A great perspective and a cool group. In addition, a concept that worked perfectly,” says the late starter. In the group he met his compatriot from Carinthia and childhood friend Marco Schwarz.
The two formed a training community and in between they dueled on the tennis court.
The slalom world champion from 2009 now works for the ski company Völkl in the slalom area and also took care of the Carinthian. “When I stood in front of a world champion in the company, I had to swallow once.”
The current World Cup season started tough for the medalist. “I haven’t had a lot of results yet, so I was still far behind from the start number. My goal was to be in the top 15 by the end of the season.”
He made it to the World Cup on time – and that was then indirectly the ticket for the World Cup slalom. Because: In addition to the fixed starters Marco Schwarz, Michael Matt and Manuel Feller, the two youngsters Pertl and Gstrein drove to the World Cup – and it was clear that the fourth slalom ticket should go to one of them. Because spring-like temperatures were announced for the final weekend, the starting number suddenly played a role and that’s why Pertl was given preference over Gstrein, who was not in the top 15.
The rest is known: Pertl set the fastest time in the first run and then took silver in the slalom. “He’s a really cool sock, you have to get that right at your first World Cup. I’ll take off my hat,” said the big World Cup favorite Marco Schwarz, who had previously been eliminated.
The “cool sock” wasn’t as cool as he admitted on Monday: “I stood at the start and watched Vinatzer all the way to the finish line. It makes you think a lot about what can happen in your life in the next two minutes . ” Ultimately, however, he was able to push these thoughts aside again. “I had nothing to lose.”