Coronet Peak, Queenstown September 1 2017: World Cup skier Erik Read of Canada made it two in a row when he claimed the men’s Audi quattro Winter Games NZ FIS Australia New Zealand Cup (ANC) giant slalom title at Coronet Peak today in a nail biting finish just splits ahead of Austria’s Magnus Walch.
Chief of Race Hannah Hazeldine said the decision to reschedule today’s race from Monday (August 28) due to unfavourable racing conditions was the right one and the Coronet Peak race crew made an excellent job of preparing the hill.
“We had a bit of rain last night which provided the moisture needed, followed by overnight cold temperatures which set up the Davies giant slalom course in the Rocky Gully Race Arena well.”
As with the rest of the ANC series this week at Coronet Peak the field again featured an impressive line-up of World Cup and Olympic skiers from 20 different countries. Sixty-six athletes started in the first run and 60 in the second with 42 finishing the overall race.
The battle lines were drawn between World Cup skiers Read (25) and Walch (25) who won gold and silver respectively in the first giant slalom on Tuesday (August 29).
Walch was third fastest after today’s first run in 51.47 with Read behind him in fourth place in 51.67. The winner of the first run Trevor Philp of Canada in 51.14 was disqualified in the second.
Read put the hammer down in the second run to record 54.79 for a combined 1.46.46 just edging out Walch, who clocked 55.02 and a combined of 1.46.49, by 300ths of a second.
Read was clearly overwhelmed by his result.
“To do it by 300ths of a second there’s just nothing in it. I was really pleased to win the first day and to do it a second time just solidifies it for me. It was definitely more challenging today with flat light in the second run.”
Third placed Krystof Kryzl (30) of Czech Republic, who won the 2017 NZ National Championship slalom at Coronet Peak, left nothing on the course to finish a close third in 1.46.83. He could only manage 7th in the first run in 52.08 but a quick second run of 54.75 gave him the space he needed from Kristoffer Jakobsen (22) of Sweden, who started in bib 29 and claimed the fastest second run over the field in 54.59. Combined with 52.30 in the first the result put him in fourth place in 1.46.89.
New Zealand representative Willis Feasey (24) of Twizel outskied fellow team member Adam Barwood (25) to be the first New Zealander in sixth place in 1.47.34 with Barwood taking 13th in
1.47.94. Feasey also won the coveted ANC giant slalom yellow bib as the top Australasian over the series.
Hazeldine considered the seven-race series – six FIS ANC events and the Coronet Peak night dual slalom – held as part of the Audi quattro Winter Games NZ was highly successful.
“With so many of the world’s top athletes in the region training we have seen probably the best fields this week of any ANC and Winter Games NZ competitions. Many of the athletes racing in this series will now go on to compete at Northern Hemisphere World cup events and the 2018 Winter Olympics.”
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