Exhausted but smiling, Alexander Schmid sat in the hot seat at the finish line, turned to the spectacular slope of Gran Ressa and waited to see who would overtake him.
In the end there were four contenders, but the man from Allgäu was more than satisfied with his solid fifth place in the second giant slalom in Alta Badia. “I am very, very happy,” confirmed the Olympic silver medalist with the team.
Indeed, with the fourth victory of the season for the Swiss Olympic champion Marco Odermatt, Schmid confirmed his belonging to the absolute elite in giant slalom. The day before he had finished eighth in the first race, but after fourth place in the first race.
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This time he rose from seventh place in the final – and for once, he praised himself modestly: “I’m really glad I have such consistency and can drive with the best.”
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Schmid has made it to the podium only once in a giant slalom: last year he finished third in Gran Ressa, next to Chuenisbärgli in Adelboden, a Mecca for giant slalom skiers. It shouldn’t stay that way. 8th, 6th, 8th and 5th – the record from the first four giant slalom races of this World Cup winter confirms Schmid’s consistency, but at the same time he still has room for improvement because both runs are not yet in one race.
With his powerful second run, Schmid showed what was possible. “It was a dedicated ride,” he said, and came to the conclusion: “Gran Ressa is one of the highlights of the season. And then, to get such a performance, it was very interesting. To the podium, where Odermatt was still Norway’s Henrik Kristoffersen and Slovenia’s Zan Kranjic Standing up, Schmid was 0.46 seconds behind this time, and there was no insurmountable gap.
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Two teammates also celebrated Schmid’s run at the finish. While Stefan Luitz clearly failed to qualify for the final in 48th place, Anton Grammell and Fabian Gratz with their high starting numbers of 53 and 54 initially led them to the final – eventually finishing 22nd and 25th.
For both of them it was the best result of their careers. Grammel only finished in the points for the second time, Gratz only the third.
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Update yesterday at 12:02 pm
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