King of the Mountain
Olympic Park, Munich – Felix Neureuther rode the man-made snow and the support of the rowdy crowd to victory on New Year’s Day to win the Audi FIS Ski World Cup.
Neureuther started the competition by upsetting third-ranked Ted Ligety of the US in the opening round, and then breezed through the bracket to face Austrian Marcel Hirscher in the final. And what an epic final between the second-ranked Hirscher and fifth-ranked Neureuther, who won both runs by +.11 and +.10 respectively.
The Munich-born Neureuther was able to celebrate with his father, former slalom World Champion Christian Neureuther, and current FC Bayern midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger.
Neureuther moved up one spot to #4 in the FIS Overall World Cup standings, but the top three – Aksel Lund Svindal, Hirscher and Ligety – are locked into a battle that will last the entire season.
On the ladies side, local favorite Maria Höfl Riesch could not escape the first round as she lost to country woman Viktoria Rebensburg. However, those left standing continued to entertain the 17,000 strong at the Olympic “Mountain” in the middle of the city. Top-ranked Tina Maze qualified for the final, but admitted that her poor slalom ranking cost her against eventual winner Veronika Velez Zuzulova, losing by +.50 and +.65. American Julia Mancuso lost in the quarterfinals to Finn Tanja Poutianinen.
With the win, Velez Zuzulova moves up four spots to #12 in the FIS Overall World Cup standings, but Maze leads Höfl Riesch by 492 points.