There were celebrations for Norway and best friends ?ukasz Braathen and Atle Lie McGrath on Sunday (January 8) when the ski racers completed a sublime double finish in the World Cup slalom in Adelboden, Switzerland.
Braathen ruled the slopes on the first run of the morning and watched most of his rivals struggle in difficult conditions on both routes. Teammate Henrik Kristoffersen and Olympic champion Clement Noel saw their hopes dashed after the first run; many others were still left behind in heat 2.
Sam McGrath rode a strong second run for a total of three positions, with the Germans Linus Strasser taking an exciting third place in the week, German ski racing lost Rosi Mittermaier.
Braathen’s second run was perfect, taking advantage of a large 0.94 second advantage over McGrath from the morning’s run to maintain control on the Chuenisbärgli slope and win in a total time of 1:49.31, 0.71 seconds ahead of his teammate.
Speaking to Eurosport after the race, Braathen said: “It’s a surreal day for both of us, we dreamed of the day we would be on the podium together and it almost didn’t matter if he (McGrath) won or anything, we just wanted to share it. I can’t believe that day has finally come. From growing up together at the same club to entering the World Cup and today we were 1st and 2nd in Adelboden.”
McGrath agreed. “Since we were 12, we dreamed that this day would happen.
“We talked about it, the day we do a World Cup double is going to be crazy. What happened today when we both struggled in the previous races just shows that we will stay positive and we’ve fought so hard and finally got paid back and doing this together is crazy.”
Elsewhere, Italy also posted big gains Alex Vinatzer – 15th place after the first run, but fourth overall – and Germany Antoni Tremmelwhich won 16 seats and finished 13th.
Thanks to the victory, Braathen moved up to the lead in the World Cup slalom standings with 250 points ahead of the Austrians Manuel Feller by nine points; the place in the top three in the general classification did not change, and Marco Odermatt – not racing on Sunday – overtook the group.
The men’s World Cup track now moves to Wengen, also in Switzerland, for Super-G, downhill and slalom from next Friday (February 13) to Sunday.