Manuel Feller Leads a 1-2-3 Austrian Podium Sweep in Gurgl
Updated: Nov 29
On the Alpine Ski World Cup Premiere in Gurgl, in the first Slalom of the season, in front of 8,300 ski fans, Manuel Feller gave Austria the first victory of the 2023-2024 winter. Manuel Feller tops an Austrian podium with Marco Schwarz second (+0.23) and Michael Matt third (+1.05).
It is the third victory for Manuel Feller in a Slalom race in the Alpine Ski World Cup. His last victory was in Lenzerheide on March 21, 2021.
Feller laid the foundation of his victory in a a dream first run in a very demanding course setting (27 of 72 skiers were eliminated and two were disqualified in the first run). The 31-year-old Tirolean took a lead of 0.94 seconds over Clement Noel. After six unsuccessful attempts, the last time in January in Kitzbühel, Feller was able to successfully defend a first run lead for the first time in his career.
"It is always a dream to celebrate a victory at home. This was a super premiere here in Gurgl. The slope was perfectThere is nothing better than winning, unless you can be on the podium with two teammates. It’s one of the best things you can experience", Feller said.
Austrian skiers had not achieved a victory in the last 17 events of the Men's Slalom World Cup, a streak that dates back to Johannes Strolz's victory in Adelboden on January 9, 2022. Austria ends in Gurgl one of their longest victory droughts in the Slalom event since going on a 22-event winless streak from March 1984 to February 1986.
The Austrian ski team today celebrated its first 1-2-3 podium at the Alpine Ski World Cup since 2015. In the Downhill in Garmisch-Partenkirchen Hannes Reichelt led an Austrian podium with Romed Baumann and Matthias Mayer.
In Slalom it is the first time that three Austrians have stood on the Alpine Ski World Cup podium since January 2001 in Wengen, when the Austrian team destroyed the competition. Benjamin Raich, Rainer Schönfelder, Mario Matt, Florian Seer and Kilian Albrecht finished first, second and third, fourth and fifth respectively.
After finishing in fifth position in the first run, Marco Schwarz rose to second position thanks to setting the best time in the decisive run. The 28-year-old all-rounder delivered an impressive demonstration of his consistency.
"I am really happy, slalom was my favorite discipline for a long time and is still my great love. Last year was difficult for everyone in the team, the fact that the three of us are allowed to stand at the top of the podium is really great", Schwarz
Michael Matt finished in third position. Matt climbed up onto the podium from a 17th place in the first run. The last time he was in a World Cup podium was in Madona di Campiglio in December 2018.
"Despite starting with bib number 27, if the feeling and the material are right, then a leap forward is always possible. At the World Championships in Åre I already had the honor of being on the podium with three of us, but we have been in a group since we were young, which is even nicer”, said Matt.
"It’s been a very long journey, this feels like the first podium, to be honest. This is one of the toughest Slalom courses, so I am looking forward to the rest of the season", he added.