Marcel Hirscher seals record eighth consecutive World Cup overall title

Double Olympic champion Marcel Hirscher took third in the Kranjska Gora slalom behind PyeongChang silver medallist Rene Zenhaeusern 

Marcel Hirscher has secured his eighth consecutive alpine skiing World Cup overall title.

The double Olympic champion needed a top-16 finish in the Kranjska Gora slalom to end Alexis Pinturault's purely mathematical chance of catching him.

And Hirscher took third place to clinch another big crystal globe and draw level with Lindsey Vonn on a record 20 World Cup titles.

Switzerland's Olympic silver medallist Rene Zenhaeusern produced an astonishing second run to claim his first World Cup slalom win ahead of Saturday's giant slalom victor Henrik Kristoffersen.

Kranjska Gora slalom podium (L-R): runner-up Henrik Kristoffersen, winner Rene Zenhaeusern, third-placed Marcel Hirscher
Kranjska Gora slalom podium (L-R): runner-up Henrik Kristoffersen, winner Rene Zenhaeusern, third-placed Marcel HirscherKranjska Gora slalom podium (L-R): runner-up Henrik Kristoffersen, winner Rene Zenhaeusern, third-placed Marcel Hirscher

Mr. Consistency delivers again

Hirscher had all but won the World Cup overall title on Saturday with Pinturault needing to win today and every race at next week's World Cup Finals in Soldeu, Andorra.

The Frenchman does not race downhill, so there was no doubt over the destination of the big globe.

Austrian president Alexander Van der Bellen was quick to congratulate his countryman on Twitter:

"Eight consecutive overall World Cup titles! That is incredibly impressive, and will probably not be repeated anytime soon."

A stunning reverse

Hirscher was sixth after the first run in Kranjska Gora, 0.81s down on Kristoffersen.

Zenhaeusern was one place behind Hirscher, but turned the competition on its head with a spectacular second descent.

The 26-year-old had won the City Events in Stockholm for the past two seasons, and took a surprise silver at PyeongChang behind Andre Myhrer.

And he went down in a blistering 47.57 which ended up being at least a second quicker than anyone else in the top 10.

Rene Zenhaeusern reacts after his second run in the Kranjska Gora slalom
Rene Zenhaeusern reacts after his second run in the Kranjska Gora slalomRene Zenhaeusern reacts after his second run in the Kranjska Gora slalom

Hirscher was next to go and smiled and saluted the crowd after crossing the line some one and a quarter seconds behind the leader.

The next three skiers, including Olympic champ Myhrer, all struggled before the turn of first-run leader Kristoffersen.

The Norwegian had a torrid time, going down two seconds slower than Zenhaeusern, but just managed to pip Hirscher for second place.

While Zenhaeusern celebrated a first World Cup slalom victory, Hirscher claimed yet another podium finish in the 11th slalom of the season.

Marcel Hirscher reacts after his second run in the Kranjska Gora slalom
Marcel Hirscher reacts after his second run in the Kranjska Gora slalomMarcel Hirscher reacts after his second run in the Kranjska Gora slalom

Enjoy it while it lasts

After winning his third slalom world title last month in Are, taking his tally to seven golds and four silvers, Hirscher indicated he would not compete at another World Championships.

The 30-year-old, who became a father in October, even suggested he might bow out after this season.

He told a news conference in Are: "Ten more races are waiting for me [this season], so we will see.

"Take a break and things will be way clearer than right now."

Hirscher also gave some indication of the constant pressure he has felt during his career, saying: "The biggest emotion is that the pressure has gone away from my shoulders. I'm feeling lighter than before these World Championships."

Whenever Hirscher chooses to retire, he will go down as perhaps the greatest technical alpine skier of all time.

He has now won a World Cup treble of slalom, giant slalom and overall titles for the last five years in succession.

And with 68 World Cup race wins, he is third on the all-time list behind Ingemar Stenmark (86) and Lindsey Vonn (82).

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