HKR Kitzbühel

France’s Superheroes Celebrate on the Hahnenkamm


Cyprien Sarrazin, Clément Noël and Johan Clarey returned to Kitzbühel, where they were honoured for their incredible achievements on the Streif and Ganslern slopes and applauded by their fans.

Three superheroes from France were honoured at the Hahnenkamm lift on Friday afternoon: Cyprien Sarrazin was presented with his personalised gondola in recognition of his incredible double Downhill victory on the Streif in January. Clément Noël was also delighted to be presented with his very own cabin, thanks to his Slalom triumph on the Ganslern Slope in 2019 (the Noël gondola has in fact been shuttling up and down the mountain for the past five years, but the Slalom specialist had yet to receive it in person). Johan Clarey was awarded a special prize for his exceptional record of consistency on the Streif. The former Downhill racer has competed here no less than 26 times over the course of 14 years and finished in the top 10 twelve times, including four (!)as runner up.

Host Toni Bodner expressed his admiration for the athletes: “It is an honour to have you here and I would like to take this opportunity to offer you my congratulations all over again.“ Bergbahn AG Kitzbühel Cable Car Co’s CEO then addressed the reigning Downhill champion directly: “Cyprien, you moved me to tears in January. Your joy, your jubilation, your jump on the airfence – it was so emotional, thank you for that moment!“ Mario Mittermayer-Weinhandl, Hahnenkamm Chief of Race, was delighted to share the excitement of the “World Cup superheroes“ and voiced a personal wish: “I hope your achievements inspire the next generation of skiers all over the world.“

The French trio expressed their gratitude and were deeply moved by the occasion. “It is every racer’s dream to compete here,“ said Cyprien Sarrazin, who is now only just realising what he achieved in January on the summery, but much quieter Streif slope: “The racecourse looks even more impressive without snow.“ The speed specialist is honoured to have his very own gondola: “The high regard in which we are held in Kitzbühel is unique.“ Nothing has been the same for Cyprien Sarrazin since his double victory five months ago: "My life has changed completely since then - for the better."

Clément Noël agrees with his team-mate: “This is not just the best Downhill event in the World Cup circuit, it’s also the best Slalom.“ Over five years have now passed since his triumph. Clément Noël was moved when he witnessed the award ceremony for Cyprien Sarrazin live at the Red Bull finish area this year, felt the passion of the fans at first hand and heard the Marseillaise: "I thought to myself, I want to experience that again." And he is confident that this day will come.

Johan Clarey may not have had the honour of standing on the top of Kitzbühel’s podium during his long career, but the 43-year-old sees this in a positive light. “Being in Kitzbühel feels like coming home. My five podium places in Kitzbühel mean more to me than the silver medal at the Olympic Games in Beijing." When he worked as a television co-commentator for the first time this January instead of joining the start line, he realised that the only World Cup race he had missed since ending his racing career was this one. Johan Clarey concluded by expressing his appreciation in return: “A big thank you to Kitzbühel Ski Club, all the staff and volunteers for making something like this possible year after year." Merci, Johan, Clément et Cyprien.

Photo © K.S.C./alpinguin

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