Relatively spared since the start of the season, world alpine skiing has just moved twice in three days its next men’s competition weekend because of the Covid-19, whose shadow hangs over the legendary Kitzbühel descent next week.
The governor of the Tyrol region announced on Wednesday that the legendary Austrian resort of Kitzbühel could not ensure its first weekend of competition on Saturday and Sunday after the discovery of 17 cases of Covid-19 linked to the English variant in the neighboring municipality of Jochberg.
“For safety reasons, we don’t want these Wengen races to take place in Kitzbühel this weekend,” said Günther Platter.
The Swiss station of Wengen had first thrown in the towel on Monday, also because of the Covid-19, for the organization of its stage scheduled from Friday to Sunday. Kitzbühel had thus turned his program upside down to resume two races out of three and organize two slaloms this weekend.
The two races are finally rescheduled a hundred kilometers further on in Flachau, where a women’s slalom took place on Tuesday evening, according to an announcement from the International Ski Federation (FIS).
The threat now hangs over the super-G and the two exceptionally scheduled descents on the legendary Streif track next week, an appointment for the moment maintained.
“If there is no major anomaly, the Hahnenkamm events next week can take place,” said Platter of this major event, which normally attracts around 90,000 people for one figure total business in the resort of 47 million euros touted by the organizers.
– Second stage affected –
This upheaval of the calendar comes less than a month before the big winter meeting of the Worlds in Cortina d’Ampezzo (Italy, from February 8 to 21), while alpine skiing was this winter rather spared by the pandemic. novel coronavirus.
This men’s competition weekend is only the second stage of the season directly affected after the cancellation of the women’s races in February from Yanqing (China) to the site of the 2022 Winter Olympics, resumed in Italy.
After seeing the end of last season amputated by the Covid-19, world alpine skiing had adjusted its calendar for this winter, which so far takes place entirely behind closed doors with a strict health protocol for athletes and followers.
The Covid-19 had precipitated the coronation of the Norwegian Aleksander Aamodt Kilde and the Italian Federica Brignone last spring with the cancellation of the last races of the season, making skiers repeat this winter the importance of taking the lead in their hunt at points facing the uncertainty related to the health situation.
Two never-crowned athletes are currently at the top of the general classification: Frenchman Alexis Pinturault in the men, 129 points ahead of the Norwegian defending champion Aleksander Aamodt Kilde, and the Slovakian Petra Vlhova in the women, 124 points ahead of the Swiss Michelle Gisin.
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