Luca De Aliprandini brings Italy back on the Giant Slalom podium five years after Eisath
Alta Badia (South Tyrolean Dolomites/Italy) - The Gran Risa brings good luck. The races in the Dolomites make Italy ski again on the World Cup podium which had been missing for five years. From Florian Eisath's third place on 18 December 2016 to Luca De Aliprandini's second place today, a historic date for the Italian team, but also for the 31-year-old from Val di Non in Trentino. Before this day he had never managed to climb those three steps on the World Cup circuit, despite the fact that last February he won the silver medal at the World Championships in Cortina.
A triumph for the Italian team in the race which saw the victory of a sensational Marco Odermatt, able to shave off more than a second from all his rivals. The Swiss star, who is the increasingly lonely leader in the overall World Cup and giant slalom rankings, won on the slope which in the past has crowned such great athletes as Ingemar Stenmark, Alberto Tomba, Marc Girardelli and Marcel Hirscher. "The Gran Risa giant slope is certainly one of the most spectacular and one of the hardest races." said Odermatt. “Doing two races here with four runs in two days right after being in Val Gardena was a very hard programme, but it is great how my body, even though tired, responded to it.” Two perfect runs (2'26"07), which left no room for rivals, with De Aliprandini taking the place of honour (at 1"01), while German Alexander Schmid placed third at 1"09 from the winner.
The audience in the stands exploded with joy to celebrate the home favourite De Aliprandini who, after yesterday's excellent fifth place, gave himself a joy he had been chasing for his whole career: "It's great to be on the podium here in Alta Badia and I thank my coaches for the work we did together. I dedicate this podium to them, but above all to me and to my girlfriend Michelle Gisin because this summer has been a bit hard for her and I am sure it will give her some energy".
From the silver medal in Cortina to today's second place on the Gran Risa, this has been the year of the turning point for De Aliprandini: "The turning point of last winter was in Alta Badia because I came out at the third gate and I had this weight on me because everyone was asking me for the podium like an obsession. I took a few days off for myself, reflected and realised that I didn't have to prove anything to anyone. So, I started again to do things with joy, without thinking only of podiums, and these are the results".
Alta Badia is already looking forward to next winter, with the hope of experiencing other historic moments like today.
Official results of the 2nd giant slalom in Alta Badia: