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Linus Straßer wins Schladming night slalom

Triumph at the Olympic dress rehearsal: Linus Straßer races to his third World Cup victory in the floodlit race in Schladming.

Linus Straßer screamed his unbridled joy into the Schladming night sky – once, twice, three times. The best were still at the top of the legendary Planai after the first run. But when one favorite after another failed at the Olympic dress rehearsal under floodlights and the Swede Kristoffer Jakobsen was also eliminated on the second (!) goal, there was no stopping Straßer. Third victory in the World Cup – and so close to Beijing!

“I tried to do my thing, which I really succeeded in doing,” said the Munich resident in “BR”, “just staying with me and my skiing. I really enjoy it.” Expert Felix Neureuther was full of praise: “He drove so smart in the second round. Great race, great sport – with a deserved winner.”

In the “Maracana Stadium” of skiing (Neureuther), no German had ever managed to do that. Armin Bittner still triumphed in a “normal” slalom in Schladming in 1990, Neureuther drove there to World Championship silver in 2013 and a total of three World Cup “podiums” – but never to the top.

Bayern Munich stars keep their fingers crossed

On the television, Bayern coach Julian Nagelsmann crossed his fingers at the “absolute must-attend event for me” and Thomas Müller (“Tear up the A… open them up!”) – and Straßer, who drives for local rival 1860, seemed to inspire it. For the 29-year-old it was the seventh podium finish, the second this winter after third place in Adelboden on January 9th.

He had previously only won the slalom in Zagreb last year and the City Event 2017 in Stockholm. Nevertheless: In the slalom at the Winter Games in Beijing on February 16, he is now one of the contenders for a medal.

He was a tiny 0.03 seconds ahead of the young Norwegian Atle Lie McGrath on the demanding slope. Manuel Feller (+0.39), who has just recovered from a corona infection, cheered the 1000 Austrian fans as he caught up from 28th place to three.

Straßer had a certain premonition, as he revealed. Yes, recently things didn’t go well for him with the end in Wengen and 14th place on the “Schweinsberg” in Kitzbühel. But on the drive to the Planai, someone whispered to him while filling up: “You win today, Straßer!” No sooner said than done – and how!

After the first run, Straßer already had his sights set on the podium in fifth place, just 0.15 seconds behind third place. “I did exactly what I set out to do,” he said with satisfaction, “cool run.” In the second round he wanted “to pull something down again, then it looks pretty good” – and it did.

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