The Swedish racer Anna Swenn takes the Slalom in Soldeu
The success of the World Cup events held in the Grandvalira ski station brings us closer to the possibility of hosting the World Championships
Swedish skier Anna Swenn Larsson, 32, took the gold medal in Sunday’s Slalom on the Avet course in Soldeu. Swenn, who had the best time in the first run, finished victorious despite only managing to clock the seventh best time in the second run. In doing so, the Swede, who won a silver in the 2019 World Championships, got her second win in the World Cup. This takes her from ninth to sixth in the rankings for the discipline, the only one in which she has been competing.
Second place went to Croatian racer Zrinka Ljutić, by a margin of 35 hundredths of a second, and third place was taken by the American Paula Moltzan, who managed to get onto the first podium of her season. The racers emphasised that the conditions on the course had been maintained, whilst being one of the most demanding courses on the World Cup circuit. Swenn, who was proud and happy with the result, was very appreciative of the “great job” that the organisers had done on the course. She stated that “it was a pleasure” to ski in Andorra.
Carla Mijares, the only Andorran to race here, who competed with bib number 51, didn’t manage to complete the first run. As she explained, she began well with a good feeling but made a mistake in the flatter section that threw her off her rhythm. This culminated in her exiting the course at the beginning of the ‘face’, the steepest final section.
When it comes to the weather conditions, it had snowed again overnight. This meant that the teams had to work tirelessly once again to get the base of the course ready, as had also been the case on Saturday. However, the drop in temperatures had made the snow drier and, therefore, easier to remove than on Saturday. Thanks to the snowfall, that was present throughout the two runs, Soldeu projected a thoroughly winter image on televisions all over the world, throughout the whole weekend.
Soldeu provided a change of leader
After the races held in Soldeu this weekend, the most significant change in the World Cup is the new leader in the Women’s overall rankings. This came about when Lara Gut-Behrami overtook Mikaela Shiffrin on Saturday, with her win in the Giant Slalom. Shiffrin drops down to second in the overall and the Italian racer Federica Brignone keeps her third spot.
In contrast, the top positions in the Giant Slalom and Slalom disciplines remain unchanged. GS continues to be led by Gut-Behrami, Brignone and Sara Hector. In Slalom Mikaela Shiffrin and Petra Vlhová remain first and second, even though they were unable to compete this weekend. Germany's Lena Duerr takes third place, although she only finished in sixth position this Sunday.
A competition with the one of the best atmospheres at the finish line
The World Cup events held in Soldeu this weekend were races with some of the best atmospheres at the finish line on the women’s circuit. Over the two days, some 7,000 spectators have been counted, despite the absence of the best skier in World Cup history, Mikaela Shiffrin.
In total, 1,700 accredited participants took part in the competitions, from athletes and their teams, FIS technicians to member of the media. In addition, the event was assisted by 265 volunteers and 28 collaborating hotels.
Pulling out all the stops to be awarded the World Championships
This weekend’s races were the last opportunity to show that the ski station has the ability to organise events at the highest level. The organisation has pulled out all the stops to become the host venue of the Alpine World Ski Championships 2029, a decision that will be taken and announced on the 4th of June 2024.
In the eyes of the FIS, Andorra is ready: “We saw it at the Finals last year and we’ve seen it again this year,” Peter Gerdol, director of the Women’s World Cup, stated. He praised the job done by the course team and confirmed that all the logistical aspects work seamlessly, as well as the service provided by the Ski room and the Hospitality team. Taking everything into consideration, Gerdol believes that Andorra is ready to handle the Finals: “you’ll need some improvements of course, but you’re starting from a very good position.”
The incumbent Prime Minister of Andorra, Xavier Espot, who came to Soldeu to witness this Sunday’s race, expressed his conviction that the objective will be achieved. He also stated that “Being already sufficiently prepared, this weekend we have once again demonstrated that we are”. In this vein, he stressed that “what differentiates us from the other candidates is that it is a country project”, as everyone is involved, from the institutions to the companies, the ski federation, the ski clubs and the population, in their capacity as volunteers.
The Women’s Alpine Ski World Cup Soldeu 2024 was made possible thanks to the sponsorship of Creand Crèdit Andorrà, the Municipality of Canillo, Andorra Turisme, Longines, Audi, Altavista, Vredestein, Allianz, Andorra Telecom and the Andorran Electric Power entity (FEDA).