Jesper Pedersen secures second victory in Kuhtai

Norwegian keeps surprising by winning his second race at the season's first World Cup 20 Dec 2017 By IPC

Jesper Pedersen continues to surprise at the season’s first World Para Alpine World Cup in Kuhtai, Austria, as he secured another win in the men´s giant slalom sitting on the second day of competition (20 December).

The Norwegian was even faster than on day one, clocking an overall time of 2:00.61. He was followed by USA’s Tyler Walker (2:03.25) and Italy’s Rene de Silvestro (2:04.74).

Even though he competes against well-established names in the circuit such as Austria’s Roman Rabl, Japan’s Taiki Morii, the Netherlands’ Jeroen Kampschreur and New Zealand’s Corey Peters, 18-year-old Pedersen has shown he is also a force to be reckoned with.

In March 2018, he will participate in his maiden Paralympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea. And Pedersen surely does not want to travel just to make up the numbers.

Three more skiers achieved their second victory in giant slalom races.

Paralympic gold medallist Claudia Loesch of Austria was the fastest in the women’s sitting with an overall time of 2:13.00, ahead of Japan’s Momoka Muraoka (2:16.70) and Germany’s Anna-Lena Forster (2:19.61).

German Anna Schaffelhuber did not finish her first run, rounding off another performance below the expectations after claiming bronze on the first day.

“It is truly my home race. I live like 30 minutes away from Kuhtai, there are so many people here I know and had a crowd cheering for us today. It was awesome,” said home crowd favourite Loesch.

In the women’s standing, Frenchwoman Marie Bochet (2:05.30) once again reached the top of the podium. The four-time Sochi 2014 gold medallist ended comfortably ahead of her arch-rival and Paralympic champion Andrea Rothfuss (2:10.85), who is still trying to find her best form.

Canada’s Alana Ramsay (2:12.64) came in third.

The other skier who enjoyed double success was Slovakia’s multiple-Paralympic and world champion Henrieta Farkasova (2:07.90), guided by Natalia Subrtova, in the women’s visually impaired.

“I feel great and happy about the result and being able to build on from yesterday’s result,” said Farkasova. “It has been a very good start for the season, but there is a lot of work left to do before PyeongChang 2018, such as being more dynamic and active in the runs.”

Germany’s Noemi Ewa Ristau (2:11.92) and guide Lucien Gerkau, and Great Britain’s Menna Fitzpatrick (2:15.32), guided by Jennifer Kehoe, completed the podium.

Neutral skier Aleksei Bugaev did not finish his second run in the men’s standing and therefore could not repeat his win from the first day. Switzerland’s Theo Gmur seized the opportunity to emerge as triumphant with an overall time of 1:55.51.

“I feel really good, it´s great,” said Gmur. “I had a good breakfast and skied fast, that's my secret. I enjoy these slopes, they are bumpy but good and fast. I want to be ready for PyeongChang 2018.”

USA’s Thomas Walsh (1:57.14) and Gmur’s compatriot Thomas Pfyl (1:58.78) finished closely behind.

The other winner of the day was Italy’s world champion Giacomo Bertagnolli (1:57.71), guided by Fabrizio Casal in the men’s visually impaired. Canadian Mac Marcoux and guide Jack Leitch, who had won the slalom on day one, could not finish the first run.

Bertagnolli was followed into the podium by Slovakians Marek Kubacka (1:59.17) and guide Maria Zatovicova, and Miroslav Haraus (1:59.89), guided by Maros Hudik.

Competitions in Kuhtai will continue on Thursday (21 December) with slalom races across all categories.

Live stream, highlights and complete live results are available for the first time on a dedicated World Para Alpine Skiing World Cup website.

Broadcasters and news agencies interested in the 2018 World Para Alpine Skiing World Cup footage and interviews can contact Alexis Vapaille.