A day after Matthias Graf’s success in the World Cup competitions in San Candido, Austrian runners said Thursday. While the men went empty-handed this time around, Andrea Limbacher and Sonja Giggler were only beaten by dominant Sandra Näslund. However, the fight for places under the Swede was turbulent – and very painful for Gigler and the Swiss Fanny Smith.
Gigler and Smith collided just before the finish after the Swiss, who was almost certainly in second place, lost the perfect streak after a driving error. So the 21-year-old Gigler from Vorarlberg faced her opponent, causing both runners to make a joint “belly sign”. Smith in particular hit the piste hard and may have injured his hand.
Limbcher, who was in fourth place at the time (“luck was on my side today”) passed the fallen duo and ended up in second place. Gigler and Smith also crossed the finish line and, after video control, were ranked as the third Aequo behind Näslund and the 2015 world champion. Side note: Just a few days earlier, Smith had picked up an Olympic bronze after it was canceled in Beijing due to a crash.
ÖSV duo racing on the podium
Andrea Limbacher and Sonia Giggler finished second and third in an amazing race
Graf came out early this time
On the other hand, there was no sense of accomplishment for the men on the second day in South Tyrol. Graf, who was still a happy winner on Wednesday, fell short this time in the quarter-finals and, after a good start against three Germans, ran into a crowd and fell. “It should be possible to overtake without making physical contact or running over the skis. Both happened again today,” Graf critiqued. His teammate Tristan Takats also finished in the last eighteen. The 27-year-old ranked 11th in the rankings. This time, Canadian Reese Howden, who finished second on Wednesday, took the day’s win by defeating Ryo Sugai of Japan and Germany’s Niklas Paschleitner.
In the Women’s World Cup, Näslund leads with a maximum of 500 points, and Katrin Ofner (159) from Styria, who finished 15th on Thursday, is seventh, one point behind Limbacher, the best Austrian. Gigler (146) is in tenth place. Limbcher, a former world champion, was last in February in Sunny Valley in third place on the World Cup podium. “Of course it feels very good to be back on the podium after such a long time,” said the former world champion. The World Cup will be held on 21/22. January in Idre, Sweden, in mid-February, it’s time for the World Cup at home in Reiteralm.
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