All eyes on Sunday’s race start

Athletes share hopes and fears of this year’s race at a press conference at the top of Kitzbühel’s legendary Hahnenkamm.

Red Bull X Alps 2023 pressconference AG header

Maxime Pinot (FRA1) has started his third outing in the Red Bull X-Alps with a clear demonstration that he’s here to win. The freshly crowned world champion was first to the top of the Hahnenkamm and first across the finish line after a nail-biting five-way sprint from the landing field. 

[Watch the sprint finish here]

Speaking at a press conference at the Start House of the Hahnenkamm – the start of the legendary ski race – Pinot said he was not putting any expectations or pressure on himself. “First you just have to try to make the end. I will just try to have fun, be efficient and my only goal is to go all the way to the end. There are so many parameters, so many decisions and any one can make a dream or nightmare.”

Red Bull X Alps 2023 pressconference FRA1 AG
zooom © Adi Geisegger

He added that he’s been preparing to be ready for six to seven years. “The secret is the preparation. I never stop preparing,” he added. “I love being in the mountains, to run, to fly to be outside, to enjoy what I’m doing.” 

Chrigel Maurer (SUI1), the seven time champion of the race, came second at yesterday’s Prologue. He said he approached every race with a fresh mind. “Every edition is different. As long as I’m healthy I can do good preparation, be ready and enjoy the race.”

That preparation took an unplanned turn a couple of weeks ago, when Maurer changed his team. He said: “Sometimes things have to be right, especially in the mind to feel that it can go well, and if not you have to change. It’s the same process as deciding to be safe in the air. This was not easy to realise the preparation was not working but we will have an adventure. We will learn to work from tomorrow onwards. I’m sure by the middle of the race we'll be complete.”

Red Bull X Alps 2023 pressconference AG
zooom © Adi Geisegger

Also speaking at the press conference was the New Zealand athlete Kinga Masztalerz (NZL), who is competing for the second time after her first outing in 2019. She said her goal is to be the first woman to make the winning float in Zell am See. 

“No woman has yet and there’s no reason we can't achieve this. It depends on so many factors. It's a real adventure, anything can happen and usually it does!”

She added: “It's so good to be back here. When I came for first time I was just a paragliding child and I was overwhelmed by the scale of this endeavour and the incredible athletes. It was an incredible learning curve. For me the goal is the raft. Maybe this year is the year!” 

Athletes now have one day’s rest before the main race begins in Schulgasse 2, Kitzbühel on Sunday at 11:30. Live coverage begins with race reporters Tarquin Cooper and former athlete Gavin McClurg at 11:00.

Follow all the action, the latest updates and athlete stats on and follow us on our social channels for the most exciting content from the race.

Top image © zooom / Adi Geisegger

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