2007: Saslong, a champions’ run

Michael Walchhofer

Michael Walchhofer

The 2007 edition of the FIS Ski World Cup in Gardena-Gröden has come to a flattering end. The best have landed on the podium (Walchhofer and Cuche) in a perfectly orchestrated week packed with thrilling events.

The FIS Ski World Cup Organizing Committee could not have hoped for more. The 40th anniversary was duly celebrated and also honoured by a visit from Coni President Mr. Giovanni Petrucci who along with the audience was engulfed in an almost magical atmosphere at the Saslong finish stadium.

Recent investments towards the safety improvement for racers’ have been to the full satisfaction of FIS TD Thomas Gurzeler and FIS Chief Race Director Günter Hujara. Both have been very complimentary of Stefania Demetz and her 800-people staff all pulling with an impressive strength towards one goal. Gardena-Gröden has successfully deployed it’s organizational strengths and technical know-how on the slope and off-piste. “Everyone has been full of praise – commented OC CEO Stefania Demetz – which is very enticing and most of all provides the necessary charge to aim for an even better performance next year.”

Sports enthusiasts could not have asked for more either. The first day provided the stage for a battle of the giants: Swiss Didier Cuche and American Bode Miller, chased by yet another excellent contender Marco Buechel. A riveting battle enthralling the audience up to the last 100th of a second. These three “over-thirties” captured podiums leaving a legion of young hopefuls behind. The downhill race gave Michael Walchhofer the opportunity to add his so far elusive Gold in Gardena-Gröden to his impressive collection of wins thereby preventing Cuche to repeat his previous‘ day success. Third place went to American Scott Macartney (injured in 2003) who spoiled the podium for Canadian Eric Guay. Once again the Saslong has been the place were experience is celebrated. It is a fascinating course that requires courtship, energy and also a good dose of luck.
All eyes are now on 2008.