Felix Neureuther (2nd L) of Germany celebrates his victory during the medal ceremony of the Alpine Skiing World Cup parallel slalom run at the Olympic Park in Munich, January 1, 2013. Neureuther won ahead of Austria’s Marcel Hirscher (L), Alexis Pinturault of France (2nd R) and Andre Myhrer from Sweden (R). (REUTERS/Michaela Rehle)
By Patrick Lang
MUNICH, Germany, Jan 1 (Reuters) – Felix Neureuther and Veronika Velez Zuzulova upset the World Cup favorites when they won the men’s and women’s city events respectively on Tuesday.
German Neureuther, a specialist of sorts after finishing second in a similar event in Moscow a year ago, used the support of 15,000 fans in Munich’s Olympic Park to upstage Austrian World Cup holder Marcel Hirscher in the final of the parallel slalom competition.
Hirscher still grabbed 80 precious points in the overall standings to close the gap on Norway’s Aksel Lund Svindal, who was knocked out in the first round of the event that involved the 12 best slalom specialists and the four best all-rounders.
“The crowd was going crazy. It was such a big motivation for today. I’d beaten Marcel once before this season. I knew I could do it. I just had to take every risk,” said Neureuther after his third World Cup victory.
France’s Alexis Pinturault, winner in Moscow a year ago, was third this time.
In the women’s competition, Slovakian Velez Zuzulova made the best of her current form to beat World Cup leader Tina Maze in the final.
Winner of her country’s first World Cup race in the Austrian resort of Semmering on Saturday, Velez Suzulova made it two in a row thanks to two blistering runs against Slovenia’s Maze.
“It took me eleven years to win my first race and now I made two in three days,” she said.
“I was hoping that the other girls partied a lot last night and would be tired today,” she added.
Austria’s Michaela Kirchgasser was third.