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Night racing in Schladming |  Why and where Linus Straßer likes to refuel before a slalom race in Planai

Night racing in Schladming | Why and where Linus Straßer likes to refuel before a slalom race in Planai

Linus Straßer likes Schladming, Reiteralm and Ennstal. One could describe it as his “third home” alongside Kitzbühel/Kirchberg and Munich. He doesn't train much anywhere. His win two years ago in Planai was a very special win for him. This time he comes to Schladming as the newly crowned winner of Kitzbühel. I specifically stopped at a specific gas station. “Two years ago I stopped there on my way to the race. Then a few locals recognized me, despite the mask.”

Strasser examined the area's “positive fanaticism” and its ski life. “They asked if they could take a picture with me. As I was leaving, one of them called out to me and said: 'This is winning, Strasser!'” Strasser won – which is why he refueled again this year. “I'm not superstitious per se, but like… These traditions can do no harm.” Especially since the “Lion of Munich”, participating in the TSV 1860 Munich, is at its best, as proven by the victory in Kitzbühel.

As Straßer watched RTL at the finish line on Tuesday and admired the new stadium (“the atmosphere is still right”), another rumor spread again: the possible return of Lukas Bräthen. The Norwegian, so ubiquitous in Kitzbühel, has cleverly avoided this question. Instead, he worked as a DJ and presented his “skate” (“Atomic Redster X9RS Revoshock S Luci”). Then Swiss Daniel Jol also said that he knew that Brathen had recently trained in slalom with Greek American AJ Genis. In Hinterreit in Salzburg, by the way. “This is something I will never do three months after I quit: practice scoring goals,” Jol told Blake. Speculation continues that the Norwegian may actually return after a year of “inactivity”. As a Brazilian and with his sponsors Red Bull and Peak Performance. And he should do that too.

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The Austrians should actually be the topic of conversation before Schladming. Above all, Manuel Wieler, who is still at the top of the World Cup Slalom Championship. He only did it once in Schladming after the first round. Four years ago, the decision ended after scoring just a few goals. He's already been on the podium here once, and it's clear to him that Kitzbühel might be the race for his “Tyrolean heart”, but: “As a slalom rider, the Schladming is the greatest thing you can win!”. Also good for him for the other team members. Because the 31-year-old attracts attention and relieves pressure on his teammates. “The focus is on Manu, so the pressure is limited,” says Johannes Strolls.

Vorarlberger is still searching for the last “puzzle pieces” to get the absolute best results. Fifteenth place in Kitzbühel was Wengen's best result of the season. “I noticed the curve of the figure rising. But I can't force anything now. The last step must somehow come on its own, so that the speed comes in all the sections.” His impatience did not help: “I would like everything to work out immediately the way I want it to work. I've often realized that you can't force that in sport.

Adrian Pirtle has also often struggled in recent weeks. Wengen and Kitzbühel were strong and the conditions had to suit his preparation. “The slope invites you to attack. You have to get away from the top and then go over the steep slope,” says the Carinthian. The Planai is not technically the most difficult route, although the exit from the steep slope is tricky, as Strolz explains: “It is a slope on which you cannot Completely edit skiing. The slope keeps pushing and when you get the momentum going you become incredibly fast.

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