Europa Cup titles up for grabs in Veysonnaz

The finals in Switzerland will see skiers race in slalom, giant slalom and super combined between 29-31 March. 28 Mar 2017
Miroslav Haraus
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The last races of the international ski season will take place in Veysonnaz, Switzerland, from 29-31 March as athletes race for Europa Cup titles.

A busy pre-Paralympic season has seen the 2017 World Para Alpine Skiing Championships and the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games Test Event take place, as well as the World Cup circuit.

Now super combined, slalom and giant slalom will offer skiers a shot at continental Cup titles in the men’s and women’s sitting, standing and visually impaired.

The current top three in the men’s sitting will line up, led by France’s Frederic Francois.

The 2015 Worlds super combined bronze medallist is less than 40 points ahead of German 18-year-old Bjoern Behnke.

Behnke has reached the Europa Cup podium for the first time this season, including a win in giant slalom in February.

Francois’ teammate Yohann Taberlet, a double Paralympian, completes the current top three and is in reach of the top spot.

In the women’s equivalent the absence of Austria’s multiple world and Paralympic champion, and points leader, Claudia Loesch leaves the door open for other competitors.

Germany’s Ruth Hagspiel holds a slim five point lead over Austria’s Heike Tuertscher in second and third respectively. The Netherlands’ Barbara van Bergen is also in the mix.

In the men’s standing Finland’s Santeri Kiiveri is hoping to round off a great season where he reached the top five in the World Cup slalom standings.

He leads the Europa Cup rankings but Austria’s Martin Wuerz and Switzerland’s Thomas Pfyl are tough opponents. A mistake from the Fin could see him drop down the order behind second and third placed Wuerz and Pfyl.

Spain’s Ursula Pueyo Marimon is just one podium finish away from victory in the women’s standing. However the Netherlands’ Bigna Schmidt is chasing her all the way.

In the men’s visually impaired Slovakia’s Miroslav Haraus is coming off a top three finish in all speed and technical World Cup standings, including winning the slalom and super combined.

If he continues his form he could jump to the top of the table from fifth with guide Maros Hudik.

Germany’s Noemi Eva Ristau, the slalom bronze medallist from the recent World Championships, sits second in the women’s visually impaired with guide Lucien Gurkau.

Croatia’s Eva Goluza is third with guide Ana Zigman. Goluza made her Europa Cup debut in November topping the podium in a slalom race just a couple of months later.

Both Ristau and Goluza will go for the title in the absence of Belgium’s Eleonor Sana.

Current Europa Cup standings can be found at World Para Alpine Skiing’s website.

Super combined will take place on Wednesday (29 March), followed by giant slalom and slalom on Thursday and Friday (30-31 March).

Results from each day will be available at World Para Alpine Skiing’s calendar and results page.