France's Marie Bochet sent a clear message that she intends to retain all five of her world titles later this year by beating Germany's Andrea Rothfuss on Thursday (8 January) in slalom at the first IPC Alpine Skiing World Cup of the 2014-15 season in La Molina, Spain.
With just over 50 days to go until the 2015 IPC Alpine Skiing World Championships in Panorama, Canada, Bochet, a winner of four golds at Sochi 2014, swept to victory with an overall time of 1:21.92. The 20-year-old finished over seven seconds ahead of Rothfuss (1:29.15), who prevented Bochet from completing the Paralympic Grand Slam in Sochi by winning gold in the slalom.
Russia's Inga Medvedeva (1:33.09) got her first World Cup points with third.
Her teammates, Paralympic champion Alexey Bugaev (1:16.62) and Alexander Alyabyev (1:18.67), a slalom bronze medallist from Sochi, placed first and second in the men's standing. Austria's Thomas Grochar (1:19.01) posted two consistent runs to complete the podium.
Rounding off the Russian success was Paralympic champions Valerii Redkozubov (1:16.24) and guide Evgeny Geroev with victory in the men's visually impaired.
Slovakia's Miroslav Haraus (1:18.37) and guide Maros Hudik skied to silver, narrowly beating Canadian Mac Marcoux (1:18.67), guided by brother BJ.
The women's visually impaired featured a win for home athlete Ana Maria Selvi Solsona (1:45.21) and guide Esther Noguera I Hidalgo over Belgium's Marie-Morgane Dessart (1:49.89), guided by Alain Struman.
Germany's reigning world champion and five-time Paralympic champion from Sochi, Anna Schaffelhuber (1:24.36,) edged Austria's Claudia Loesch (1:26.33) in the women's sitting.
Third-placed German Anna-Lena Forster (1:29.34) posted a fast second run, but a slow first time combined with a cool head from Loesch put pay to her hopes of finishing higher up the standings.
Further success for Germany came in the men's event, as Thomas Nolte (1:18.92) posted a convincing victory over Japanese Paralympic champion Takeshi Suzuki (1:21.75). After finishing eighth in his first run, Croatia's Dino Sokolovic (1:22.15) found his form on his second run, finishing fastest overall, to claim third.
Full results are available at http://www.paralympic.org/alpine-skiing/calendar-and-results.
Races continue on Friday (9 January) until 11 January, with slalom events. Weather conditions in La Molina have meant that the scheduled giant slalom events had to be cancelled.
Skiers are in La Molina as part of the preparations for Panorama 2015, which is set to see 130 of the world's best athletes from 50 countries line-up for the biggest gathering of alpine skiers since Sochi 2014.
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