Exclusive - Bode Miller explains how Pintaurault mastered testing conditions on a remarkable day
Bode Miller spoke to Eurosport after the men's alpine combined...
Why the conditions played a big part
“The conditions are the nature of the sport. It has been known for skiers to go slowly in the downhill with the intention of getting a better slot in the slalom portion of a combined. I don’t believe that happened today, the guys who were a bit slower in the downhill didn’t lose that much time.
" It was going to come down to how this course held up, I wouldn’t say it was horrible, but I would say it was less than ideal. The downhillers will think what the heck, that held up great – it just wasn’t our day! "
"In the end, we saw the best skier win – Alexis (Pinturault) is the overall best skier right now."
How Alexis Pinturault claimed gold
"I think the best racer won today – it was a little different to what I expected once I saw the downhill portion, but then the slalom preparation was going to be key. It broke down so much during the slalom that it became impossible for the downhill skiers to make any kind of an effort for a win. We saw Dominik Paris, the first true downhiller, just barely squeaked into the top 10 after what I would consider a great run.
"There was some fantastic skiing by Pinturault and it was amazing for Stefan Hadalin to break through on this stage. He was number one out of the start gate, no pressure, and it looked like he just went for it. It was fantastic slalom skiing on a perfect course. I was excited and we have three more medallists. Pinturault skied really aggressive and super-dynamic, whereas Hadalin was just able to go where he wanted given there were no tracks.
" Alexis took that risk. Having the early start position gives you that kind of freedom. No one in the stands was considering he really had a chance, but obviously he knew it and took the risk and the only way for him to get the result was to go out and get maximum effort. It doesn’t happen every day that you have these opportunities so hats off to Alexis. "
"It was a classic example of a slalom skier getting the right course conditions. To be fair to Pinturault he’d already skied really, really well for the course conditions. He’d already seen a lot of the racers around his start number already dealing with the ruts a little bit. They broke through after about four or five guys. Normally, if you put Hadalin against Pinturault, Pinturault wins ten times out of ten."
Why Marco Schwarz struggled
"Marco Schwarz didn’t seem that happy, because he was targeting and making a big move in the slalom.
" It’s hard to articulate but when the snow breaks like that then you can’t ski where you want to which is much closer to the gate. If you multiply 20 or 30 centimetres times 55 gates you end up with a long distance, so I think it’s more frustration even though he ended up with a medal which I think is a great result for him. "
"He wasn’t the only one who was frustrated, I think some of the downhillers felt like that as well. At the end of the day, he’ll be happy with his performance."