Canadian World Cup skier Erik Read made it two in a row when he claimed the win at the men’s Audi Quattro Winter Games NZ/ FIS Australia New Zealand Cup (ANC) giant slalom at Coronet Peak on Friday in a nail biting finish, just hundredths ahead of Austria’s Magnus Walch to go with his first GS victory earlier in the week.
Chief of Race Hannah Hazeldine said the decision to reschedule Friday’s race from Monday due to unfavorable racing conditions was the right one and praised the Coronet Peak race crew on their excellent job of preparing the hill.
“We had a bit of rain last night, which provided the moisture needed, followed by overnight cold temperatures, which set up the Davies giant slalom course in the Rocky Gully Race Arena well,” Hazeldine said.
As with the rest of the ANC series this week at Coronet Peak, the field again featured an impressive lineup of World Cup and Olympic skiers from 20 different countries with 66 athletes taking to the start. The battle lines were drawn between Read and Walch, who won gold and silver respectively in the first men’s GS on Tuesday.
Read sat fourth after the first run, but put the hammer down in the second to take the win with a combined time of 1:46.46 seconds, just edging out Walch by a razor-slim margin of o.03 seconds. Third place went to Krystof Kryzl of the Czech Republic who also won the 2017 NZ National Championship slalom at Coronet Peak and left nothing on the course to finish 0.37 off of Read’s pace.
“To do it by three-hundredths of a second, there’s just nothing in it,” an elated Read shared. “I was really pleased to win the first day and to do it a second time just solidifies (my form) for me. It was definitely more challenging today with flat light in the second run.”
New Zealand representative Willis Feasey finished as the first Kiwi in sixth place, 0.88 seconds back, with Hig Roberts claiming the top American spot in seventh, 0.97 seconds shy of the win.
Hazeldine considered the seven-race series of six FIS ANC events and the Coronet Peak night dual slalom held as part of the Audi Quattro Winter Games NZ as highly successful, boasting some of the strongest fields ever seen in the Southern Hemisphere.
“With so many of the world’s top athletes in the region training, we have seen probably the best fields this week of any ANC and Winter Games NZ competitions,” she said. “Many of the athletes racing in this series will now go on to compete at Northern Hemisphere World Cup events and the 2018 Winter Olympics.”
Release courtesy of Winter Games NZ