At the age of just 19, France’s Marie Bochet looks set to take her place in the history books as one of the greatest French para-alpine skiers of all time at Sochi 2014, following a fourth successive win in slalom and giant slalom events at Copper Mountain, Colorado in the USA.
Bochet’s win in the women’s standing giant slalom in 1:54.59 was over 1.5 seconds faster than her nearest rival Andrea Rothfuss (1:56.20) in partly cloudy conditions on tightly packed snow. The five-time world champion won both runs to claim another 100 World Cup points and retain her place at the top of the slalom standings heading into her home World Cup in Tignes, France, in less than one week (27-31 January).
American Allison Jones has been swapping places with Rothfuss throughout the four day meet, and finished the final day in third (2:01.50) for her fourth podium.
Competition is also intensifying in the men’s event, with Austrian super-combined world champion Matthias Lanzinger taking victory (1:49.37) in starting conditions of -1.7 degrees Celsius. France’s Vincent Gauthier-Manuel added to his teams’ successes with a second place (1:50.46) ahead of Lanzinger’s teammate Markus Salcher in third, who pulled back a poor first run which left him fifth to post the fastest time of the day on his second attempt with a 54.01.
Australian Jessica Gallagher completed her women’s visually impaired competition with a near perfect record of three out of four potential podiums with guide Christian Geiger (2:04.52) alongside teammate Melissa Perrine guided by Andrew Bor (2:10.80). Great Britain’s Jade Etherington completed the podium in third (2:13.36), concluding a successful few days for the Brits who are looking for their first Paralympic gold in Sochi.
It was all change on the men’s sitting podium with Swiss world championships bronze medallist Christoph Kunz taking first (1:55.55). Overall 2012-13 World Cup winner Takeshi Suzuki of Japan tied with France’s Frederic Francois for second place, for his first podium of the competition. Both men finished in 1:55.94.
In the men’s visually impaired race, Russia’s Valerii Redkozubov kept up the pressure on his competitors with guide Evgeny Geroev claiming their third podium (1:52.78). Canadian brothers Mac and BJ Marcoux followed a disqualification in the slalom from Sunday (19 January) with a third podium finish in 1:53.73, followed by Italians Alessandro Daldoss and guide Luca Negrini (1:55.66). World champion Russians Ivan Frantsev and guide German Agranovskii were over four seconds behind the front-runners.
Rounding off the results from the last day of competition in stunning scenery was a win for Japan’s Momoka Muraoka (2:09.79), leading American Laurie Stephens by a nose in 2:10.25, following second run DNFs for German world champion Anna Schaffelhuber and Austrian Paralympic champion Claudia Loesch. Anna Turney picked up another podium for Great Britain in 2:15.41.
Sikers will now move back to Europe for the final two World Cups of the season in Tignes and the exclusive resort of St. Moritz, Switzerland, from 3-6 February.
The climax of the season will take place at the IPC Alpine Skiing World Cup Finals in Tarvisio, Italy from 24-27 February.