(Reuters) - Marcel Hirscher enjoyed another stellar weekend in his pursuit of ski racing landmarks as he completed a victorious double in Adelboden, Switzerland on Sunday that pushed him ever closer to an eighth straight overall World Cup triumph.
Austria’s remarkable double Olympic champion, whose only current opposition seems to come from the ski racing history books, added the slalom title to the giant slalom crown he successfully defended on Saturday.
His triumph on Sunday saw the 29-year-old become the first skier to win nine career titles at a single World Cup venue as, for the second consecutive day, he produced a second run charge to come from behind and break his opponents.
Third-fastest after the first run, Hirscher saved his best for the afternoon to finish 0.50 seconds ahead of rising Frenchman Clement Noel, who earned his first career podium finish.
Henrik Kristoffersen, who also saw Hirscher beat him after he had led following the first run in the giant slalom, again had to settle for the now familiar feeling of a minor podium spot behind the Austrian, finishing third.
It was the third time Hirscher has completed the Adelboden double and meant he surpassed Ingemar Stenmark, at Madonna di Campiglio, Italy, and Aksel Lund Svindal, in Lake Louise, Canada, who both won eight times at one resort.
His weekend’s heroics took his tally of World Cup wins to 67 as he continues to home in on Stenmark while showing absolutely no sign of slackening the pace in his pursuit of the great Swede’s all-time mark of 86.
Now on course for a sixth World Cup slalom title and a monstrous 405 points clear of Kristoffersen in his bid for an unprecedented eighth overall crown, even Hirscher can hardly credit the extent of his domination.
“It’s unbelievable, that’s for sure,” Hirscher told reporters, talking of the resumption of his remarkable dominance after a recent underwhelming spell by his standards.
“It underlines for me personally, this seven years where I’ve been performing at this level, I think this is worth the most.”
Of his love affair with Adelboden, he added: “Here, I reached my first top-10 place, now I have 16 cowbells (a record for podium finishes for male skiers at any single venue) and nine wins. This is really a special place.”
En route towards possibly adding to his six other global gold medals in this year’s World Championships next month in Are, Sweden, Hirscher’s next stop in his World Cup assault will be in the Wengen slalom next Sunday.
Reporting by Ian Chadband, editing by Ed Osmond