Bansko Men's Races Preview
The Men's Alpine Ski World Cup will move this weekend to Bansko (Bulgaria). The largest ski resort in the Balkan area organized in 2011 its first Men World Cup events, two years after having hosted the Ladies tour a week after the 2009 FIS World Championships at Val d’Isère.
Bansko is by far the most well-known ski resort in South-Eastern Europe. Located just 160 kilometers away from Sofia, the contemporary town of Bansko is a unique mixture of old traditions and modern style, where new-built hotels and apartment houses are separated from more than 100 years old ethnographic houses by just a tiny, stone-paved street. The town center is a listed World Heritage Site.
The ski pistes are located in two main ski centers: Chalin Valog (1100-1600 m) and Shiligarnika (1700-2500 m). They are approximately 10 km above the town on the northern slopes of Pirin Mountain and are easily accessible in a approximately 25 minutes ride on the new Gondola lift which starts from Bansko.
In Åre, in 2019, Henrik Kristoffersen found his way back to the top of the podium earning his first World Championship medal ahead of his main contender: Marcel Hirscher.
A few days after in Bansko Kristoffersen was again at the top of the podium +0.04 sec. ahead of Hirscher. Thomas Fanara of France finished in third place (+0.39).
Alexis Pinturault has won each of the last three Giant Slalom events in the World Cup. At the world championships in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Pinturault was on course for gold after the first run, but recorded a DNF after a mistake in his second run.
The last man to win four successive World Cup Giant Slalom events was Marcel Hirscher who won five in a row from December 2017 to March 2018.
If Pinturault wins both giant slaloms held in Bansko, he will become the third man to claim five successive World Cup wins in this discipline, after Hirscher and Ingemar Stenmark (3 times).
Marco Odermatt is second in the giant slalom standings, only 40 points behind Alexis Pinturault.
Odermatt finished in the top-four in each of the last eight Giant Slalom events in the World Cup. He claimed his first career World Cup win in the Giant Slalom this season in Santa Caterina on 7 December 2020.
Filip Zubcic has finished in the top three in seven of the last 10 World Cup Giant Slalom events.
Mathieu Faivre won the men's Giant Slalom and Men's Parallel Giant Slalom at the world championships in Cortina d'Ampezzo.