Schladming (Austria) (AFP)
Clément Noël 2nd, Alexis Pinturault 3rd: the French succeeded in their World Cup slalom in Schladming (Austria) on Tuesday and celebrated with this double podium the last race of their teammate Julien Lizeroux.
Untouchable, the Austrian Marco Schwarz dominated Noël by 68 / 100th and Pinturault by 82 / 100th.
In Schladming more than elsewhere, the health crisis weighs heavily.
No tens of thousands of fans gathered as close as possible to the skiers, capable, heated by alcohol, of throwing snowballs at them in full effort, which is the raw charm of this nocturnal classic where there is always something going on. .
Instead, a finish area and its occupants chilled with cold from the continuous snowfall that has been hitting the small town of Styria since the night before, making the race difficult for the slalomers.
Lizeroux warmed up the atmosphere a little.
Not qualified for the 2nd round (35th of the first track), he was awaited by his teammates and applauded at length by the entire finish area (skiers, organizers, journalists ...) for the 172nd and last race of his long career, started January 23, 2000 in Kitzbühel.
"I dreamed when I was a kid in front of these races in Austria, I am proud to have participated and to have won some of them," said the two-time vice-world champion 2009 (slalom and combined) outspoken assumed.
He wanted to finish in Schladming because it is according to him "the temple of slalom".
- Pinturault flies to the general -
His teammates found the best way to pay homage to him with a double podium, the first for the Blues in slalom since Jean-Baptiste Grange and ... Lizeroux, January 25, 2009 in Kitzbühel.
Clément Noël, frustrated by an irregular start to the season and so far without a win, won his second podium of the winter.
All the more encouraging as it was obtained without achieving a perfect race.
After a frustrating first run (11th), Alexis Pinturault was perfect by setting the best time on the 2nd track to get a second consecutive podium in slalom (3rd in Flachau ten days ago), the 3rd in a row on the demanding track from Schladming.
This is another excellent operation in the general classification: his 60 new points allow him to score 253 more than the 2nd, the Swiss Marco Odermatt, who does not run the slaloms.
Uncompromising this season in slalom, Marco Schwarz climbed to his sixth podium in seven races (including two victories).
He is comfortably installed at the top of the classification of the specialty before the two slaloms in Chamonix on Saturday and Sunday.
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