Alta Badia Giant Slalom Races Preview
After the speed races in Val Gardena, the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup circuit will move to Alta Badia.
Alta Badia is a ski resort in the Dolomites of northern Italy, in the upper part of the Val Badia in South Tyrol. It is included in the territories of the municipalities of Corvara, Badia, and La Val. Alta Badia is one of the 12 ski areas of Dolomiti Superski.
The prestigious ski resort in the heart of the Alto Adige Dolomites will welcome the 36th Alpine Ski World Cup on Sunday 19th December 2021, on the Gran Risa slope in La Villa, with the traditional Men's Giant Slalom, followed by a Slalom on Monday 21st.
The 15th December 1985 saw the first Men's World Cup Giant Slalom on the Gran Risa slope. Marcello Varallo, current president of the Organising Committee, managed to achieve his dream by bringing a Ski World Cup competition to his home in Alta Badia. The competition was won that day by Alpine ski legend Ingemar Stenmark, followed by the Austrian Hubert Strolz and by local champion Roberto Erlacher.
The program in Alta Badia will be the following:
Giant Slalom, Sunday, December 19th. 1st run 10.00; 2nd run 13:30 (CET)
Giant Slalom, Monday, December 20th. 1st run 10.00; 2nd run 13:00 (CET)
Last season, in a physically demanding Gran Risa Giant Slalom course, Alexis Pinturault showed all his ski toolset to win in Alta Badia.
Norwegian Atle Lie McGrath, finished second after an outstanding race started with bib 29.
Justin Murisier showed incredible skiing, especially in the second run, climbing up eight positions to finish third 0.24 seconds behind Pinturault.
Marco Odermatt won the Giant slalom events in Sölden and Val d'Isère. He became the first man to win the opening two giant slalom events of a World Cup season since Ted Ligety in 2013-2014 (Sölden and Beaver Creek).
Odermatt can become the fifth man to win the first three Giant Slalom events of a World Cup season, after Piero Gros (1974-1975), Ingemar Stenmark (1977-1978, 1978-1979, and 1979-1980), Michael von Grünigen (1995-1996) and Ted Ligety (2010-2011). Only Stenmark in 1978-1979 (all 10) managed to win the first four Giant Slalom events of the season.
The Swiss finished in the top-five in 13 of his last 14 World Cup
appearances in the giant slalom, with 11th place in Lenzerheide on 20 March 2021 as the exception.
Alexis Pinturault has won 18 Giant Slalom races in the World Cup, ranking him in fifth place on the all-time men's list.
Pinturault can become the second male skier to win a World Cup event in 11 successive seasons, after Alberto Tomba from 1987-1988 to 1997-1998.
The Frenchman finished in the top-five in each of his last 13 World Cup appearances in the Giant Slalom, since 15th place in Naeba on 22 February 2020.
Pinturault was fifth in the Opening Giant Slalom in Sölden and finished in second place in Val d'Isère.
Filip Zubcic has finished in the top three in nine of the last 13 World Cup Giant Slalom races. This run includes wins in Naeba (February 2020), Santa Caterina (December 2020), Bansko, and Lenzerheide.
Zubcic (3) is one of only three skiers representing Croatia to win a World Cup event, alongside siblings Janica (30) and Ivica Kostelic (26).
With his second place in Kranjska Gora and his third place in Adelboden in 2020, Loic Meillard has achieved 4 World Cup podiums in the Giant Slalom. He was second in Saalbach in 2018, and second in Garmisch-Partenkirchen in 2020.
Last season he finished in the Top-8 in eight of the 10 Giant Slalom Races.
Mathieu Faivre has finished on the podium in four of his last seven Giant Slalom appearances including the World Championship gold in Cortina 2021.
After finishing in second place in Bansko’s first Giant Slalom, Mathieu Faivre got back to his winning ways in commanding fashion, topping Switzerland’s Marco Odermatt and teammate Alexis Pinturault in the second race held in Bansko. It was his second career World Cup victory.
Until last season Henrik Kristoffersen finished in the top-three of the overall standings in each of the previous five seasons. He ranked second in 2015-2016 and 2017-2018, and third in 2016-2017, 2018-2019, and 2019-2020.
In the 2019-2020 season, Kristoffersen became the first man other than Marcel Hirscher to win the Slalom and Giant Slalom crystal globes in one season since Benjamin Raich in 2004-2005.
Kristoffersen is the only Norwegian man to have won the Alta Badia Giant Slalom in the World Cup, on 22 December 2019.
Žan Kranjec has won two World Cup events, both in the Giant Slalom. He won in Saalbach-Hinterglemm on 19 December 2018 and in Adelboden on 11 January 2020. Last year he finished in second place in the first race held in Santa Caterina.
The Slovenian finished in third place in the Opening Giant Slalom in Sölden. It was Kranjec's 8th podium in Giant Slalom.
Manuel Feller finished on the podium in the last Giant Slalom held in Val d'Isère. It was his second podium in Giant Slalom and his 9th in the World Cup. He finished in second place in Garmisch-Partenkirchen in January 2018.
Luca De Aliprandini, silver medallist in Giant Slalom at the 2021 World Championships, can become the first Italian man to reach a World Cup podium in the Giant Slalom since Florian Eisath's third place in Alta Badia on 18 December 2016. The last Italian man to win a GS in the World Cup was Massimiliano Blardone in Crans-Montana in 2012.
Blardone was the last Italian to win the Alta Badia Giant Slalom in the World Cup in 2011.