Pinturault & Mancuso win Moscow city race
Moscow, Russia (Sports Network) - The trips up and down the giant ramp became almost dizzying throughout the night at the World Cup city event in Moscow on Tuesday but one after another the dominant parallel masters became clear and after the very last lightning quick run down the 18-gate course, Alexis Pinturault and Julia Mancuso were the winners.
A totally different format for alpine World Cup athletes, the excitement of the Moscow race became clear from the start. Racers, standing side by side, bounced up and down in the start gate before tipping back and launching out of the gate. Throughout the night, a few athletes were slammed in the legs with the start gate, thrown sideways, skied through gate panels and charged into the pads after crossing the finish line.
German Felix Neureuther was the man to go up against Pinturault in the Big Final and the two were a tight match, taking turns in the lead across the finish but it was the Frenchman who pulled ahead, landing the very first victory of his World Cup career. Thus, Neureuther ended up second and, after beating Austrian Romed Baumann in the small final, Sweden's Andre Myhrer rounded out the podium in third.
The women's final heats proved equally exciting, as Mancuso ended up taking down Austrian Michaela Kirchgasser in both runs of the Big Final as the Austrian took second place and keeping up the ongoing rivalry, Lindsey Vonn one-upped Maria Hoefl-Riesch in the Small Final to round out the ladies podium.
Ironically, neither Pinturault nor Mancuso had planned on finishing on the podium on Tuesday, much less win the race.
"My first training was just before the race," said Pinturault, whose best event is giant slalom, in which he had two World Cup second places and also a second place in super-combined a couple of weeks ago in Chamonix. "I was hoping to get experience and learn for the next time, so I'm rally surprised and happy to win."
Mancuso has had the city race in the back of her mind all season but slalom is her weakest World Cup discipline, so she was equally enthralled with the victory.
"Does this count as slalom? Does it mean I have a slalom win?" she asked after the race. "In parallel, it's slalom distance [between gates], but it's tighter and more direct down the hill. If slalom races were set straight, I could be good. This event - it's half mental, half physical. You have to get out of the start quick and not be distracted by who you're racing."
Launching out of the start gate correctly seems to be the secret to success in the city events.
OFFICIAL RESULTS - Moscow, Russia
Men's City Event - Slalom
1. Alexis Pinturault, FRA; 2. Felix Neureuther, GER; 3. Andre Myhrer, SWE; 4. Romed Baumann, AUT; 5. Marcel Hirscher, AUT; 5. Beat Feuz, SUI; 5. Mario Matt, AUT; 5. Steve Missillier, FRA; 9. Aksel-Lund Svindal, NOR; 9. Ted Ligety, USA; 9. Adrien Theaux, FRA; 9. Cristian Innerhofer, ITA; 9. Phillipp Schoerghofer, AUT; 9. Alexander Khoroshilov, RUS.
Women's City Event - Slalom
1. Julia Mancuso, USA; 2. Michaela Kirchgasser, AUT; 3. Lindsey Vonn, USA; 4. Maria Hoefl-Riesch, GER; 5. Tina Maze, SLO; 5. Marlies Schild, AUT; 5. Kathrin Zettel, AUT; 5. Nicole Hosp, AUT; 9. Elisabeth Goergl, AUT; 9. Anna Fenninger, AUT; 9. Viktoria Rebensburg, GER; 9. Tessa Worley, FRA; 9. Daniela Merighetti, ITA; 9. Federica Brignone, SWE; 9. Anja Paerson, SWE; 9. Anna Sorokina, RUS.
02/21 13:29:50 ET