Italy’s Rene de Silvestro celebrates career’s first speed victory 

World Cup in Saalbach, Austria wraps up with several dramatic upsets 05 Feb 2021
Male sit-skier makes a turn
Rene de Silvestro won the second super-G at the 2021 World Cup in Saalbach
ⒸBenedikt Lex
By Lena Smirnova | For World Para Snow Sports

Rene de Silvestro clinched his career’s first speed victory at the World Para Alpine Skiing World Cup in Saalbach, Austria to follow on his first golden result in a technical race last season. 

The Italian sit-skier was just 0.37 seconds behind the downhill and super-G Crystal Globe holder Jesper Pedersen in the first super-G race held at the Austrian ski resort. In the second race, de Silvestro outraced the Norwegian athlete by 1.13 seconds, also breaking Pedersen’s winning streak at five races.

“I'm happy because the gap from the first place is really small, even if I admit that I could do something more,” de Silvestro said. “The track conditions are really excellent and it's a fairly technical track, which suits my characteristics. I trained well in this period despite COVID and I think I can still improve, but in any case I am skiing at high levels.”

Japan’s sit-skier Akira Kano took two bronze.

Sweden’s Ebba Aarsjoe also had reason to celebrate after the two super-G races in Saalbach, which she finished with double gold. Already with three gold medals from January’s technical events, the Swedish standing skier overcame Russia’s Varvara Voronchikhina, who won both downhill races earlier in the week, to claim the top prize.

“I’m happy with the season so far, specially the speed races,” Aarsjoe said. “My favourite discipline right now is slalom because it is really good at the moment. I also love giant slalom and speed, but the longer the slope, the harder it is for my leg so every win or progress in general in speed is fantastic.”

France’s Marie Bochet rounded off the podium with two bronze.

Her teammate, Arthur Bauchet, had a rollercoaster performance in the super-G. After two silver medals in the downhill races in Saalbach, the French standing skier beat Russia’s Aleksei Bugaev by 1.05 seconds for gold in the first super-G.

Bugaev took revenge in the second race, finishing 0.08 seconds ahead of last season’s overall Crystal Globe winner.

“We have been training more in technical races than in speed. The speed races that we have are often at the beginning of the season,” Bauchet said. “So yes, I am less comfortable with speed but it is really our objective, with the staff, to make me improve in speed. This is also why I am all the more satisfied with the speed results at this start of the season.”

The gold and silver in super-G takes Bauchet’s tally of medals at this season’s World Cup to eight for eight, five being gold. He has not placed lower than second place since the first World Cup stage held in Veysonnaz, Switzerland, in January.

“So far I am very satisfied with my results. Even despite COVID, we have truly worked hard this summer and having these results at the races is just great,” Bauchet said. “I hope it will continue like this.”

Switzerland’s Theo Gmur and Austria’s Markus Salcher split bronze in each super-G race.

Italian skier Giacomo Bertagnolli bounced back from his silver and bronze in downhill to win a pair of golds in the men’s vision impaired super-G with guide Andrea Ravelli. 

Double downhill winners Hyacinthe Deleplace and guide Maxime Jourdan of France took silver and bronze. Slovakia’s Jakub Krako and guide Branislav Brozman; and Czech Republic’s Tadeas Kriz and guide Radim Nevrly came away with one silver and bronze, respectively.

In the women’s vision impaired races, Alexandra Rexova of Slovakia took gold in the first super-G with guide Eva Trajcikova.

Full results from the World Cup in Saalbach, Austria are available on the World Para Alpine Skiing website. The World Para Alpine Skiing World Cup will continue with two giant slalom and two slalom races, to be held in Leogang, Austria from 16-19 February.