Maybe the favorites for Sunday’s men’s World Cup Slalom in Adelboden did knock a few too many back Saturday night as an unlikely trio from the field took over the podium under sunny Swiss skies.
Seventy-two hours of surprises and fast, technical, and sometimes treacherous skiing came to a thrilling if not wholly unpredictable conclusion as always-the-bridesmaid Austrian Marco Schwarz earned his first career World Cup slalom victory, inching to victory by the tip of his ski .14 ahead of the suddenly surging German Linus Strasser.
Straight Outta Greater Manchester, Ryding Britain’s Lone Hopeful
And, you read it here first, at +25000, the speedy Brit slalom specialist Dave Ryding was only .15 seconds from the green light for his second World Cup podium ever, and first in four seasons, in Sunday’s action.
Schwarz, the 25-year-old technical wizard who made his World Cup debut at 19, has seven career slalom podium finishes in the discipline but never finding the way to the top step.
Before Sunday, Schwarz’s only World Cup victories came in an Alpine Combined race in Wengen in 2019, and the City Event in Oslo the same year.
Ziel Hang Course a Steep, Fast, and Technical Blur
But as the top bibs continued to make mistakes or DNF’ing in the straight-down final pitch of the “Ziel Hang” course, Schwarz leaned over the line first with one of the most technically sound runs of his career, making up time over first-run leaders Frenchmen Clement Noel and Victor Muffat-Jeandet, who both made costly mistakes in the course’s bottom third.
One week removed from being crowned Snow King in Zagreb, Strasser had never reached a World Cup Podium until the calendar page turned 2021 had. Ten days into the new year, and he’s got a pair.
And British veteran Dave Ryding may well become GBR’s biggest Winter Olympic export since Eddie the Eagle one year from now in Beijing. The 34-year-old from a little town just outside Manchester called Chorley, the lone-wolf Brit, tasted success on the podium for only the second time in his career.
Nearby Wengen Up Next for Men with Speed and Technical Events Planned
Ryding, whose Twitter profile bio reads “British disco dancer,” was beyond jazzed with his finish Sunday and, indeed, looked like he may boogie well into the night.
After 72 hours of quiet action in the famed Swiss village, the Adelboden stop has concluded. The men’s World Cup tour will not have to travel far, just an hour away, where they’ll pick up in Wengen with a pair of events next weekend that will feature the entire tour. The starting gates open on the legendary Lauberhorn downhill race on Saturday and a slalom on Sunday.