World Cup slalom in Bansko cancelled due to bad weather

The slalom from the Alpine skiing World Cup in the Bulgarian winter resort of Bansko was prematurely stopped and then cancelled due to bad weather conditions, reported a BGNES reporter. Heavy rain mixed with snow, gale-force winds and poor visibility led to a decision by Fédération Internationale (FIS) race director Markus Waldner to call off the race before the completion of the first run after a delay of around half an hour. "Very strong wind. The rain was also a problem. Visibility was just not good. It was not good enough for the skiers to participate in these conditions. Yes, the forecast is not good for the second run. There will be more wind and significantly worse conditions - it's not easy to make such a decision," said Waldner himself.

The bad weather did not prevent the start in Bansko from starting according to the preliminary plan at 10:30 a.m. Bulgarian time. The first of the two Bulgarians announced for participation - our best skier Albert Popov, went down the track with starting number 17, giving the 15th time, +3.59 seconds behind the leader Clement Noel from France. Abby was unable to cope with the adverse conditions. He was wildly supported by Bulgarian campaigners, most of them wearing "Go Abi, Go" T-shirts. Albert was watched by the President of the Republic of Bulgaria Rumen Radev, as well as his relatives - his grandmother Albena and grandfather Todor, as well as his family - his wife Denitsa Chaeva and his daughter Kaya.

In the end, Popov was 22nd out of 29 skiers who finished. Two skiers did not finish, and the break came before the descent of Zan Kranjec of Slovenia. Then, for about half an hour, the organizers debated whether it was worth completing the first run. This never happened, and the results up to the descent of Kranjec are voided and will not be valid for the World Cup. The premature termination of the first race did not allow Kalin Zlatkov (bib 68) to go down the track either.

"Yes, certainly the atmospheric conditions complicated the situation. The information from my coach was not to give absolutely everything, but just to survive. I think I will be in a better position for the second run. I thank the fans a lot, they gave me strength, no to lie I was nervous at the start. I tried to drop to the ground and go calmly to make my descent", were Albert's words after his first ride on "Banderitsa".

"A very difficult decision, but it was judged that in view of the poor visibility, as well as the forecast for the next hours, the race should be suspended. We are pleased because a lot of effort was put into holding these starts. We had a lot of difficulties with the organization, but the final result for us is positive. Unfortunately, this is the sport, in the high mountain, in unpredictable conditions, the sport is high-risk and we have to make difficult decisions. I sincerely believe because we have come a very long way. This is the ninth Alpine Cup, we have a very serious reputation, hosting different disciplines. I hope we continue on this path and organize big events again, not only in skiing, but also in snowboarding. Sometimes we have to face similar situations, but this is part of the sport", commented the general secretary of the home federation Georgi Bobev.

Albert remains 19th overall for the Small Crystal Globe Slalom with 93 points. He has a slalom in Palisades Tahoe, USA, on February 25. /BGNES