Marco Odermatt all-but confirmed his second overall Alpine skiing World Cup title after he battled to another giant slalom victory in Kranjska Gora.
Odermatt was the class of the field in the first run but looked tired in the second leg and just did enough to beat Alexis Pinturault by 0.23 seconds to win his fifth giant slalom of the season.
Only Aleksander Aamodt Kilde could mathematically beat Odermatt to the overall Crystal Globe, but he’s not racing in Slovenia this weekend, so the Swiss skier is guaranteed to wrap up the title after Sunday’s giant slalom.
In the first run, Odermatt had an advantage of 0.53 seconds to home hero Zan Kranjec, with Henrik Kristoffersen a further 0.01 of a second behind.
Stefan Brennsteiner, Pinturault and Marco Schwarz were the only other skiers within one second of Odermatt.
Home skier Stefan Hadalin set the early pace to beat in the second leg with a combined time of 2:19.67, which moved him up from 29th to 17th.
He held onto the lead for a while before Luca de Aliprandini finally knocked Hadalin off his perch when he went half a second faster, then Gino Caviezel had a flyer when he went to the top of the leaderboard by 1.03 seconds with eight skiers to go.
Lucas Braathen, Loic Meillard and Schwarz were all slower but Pinturault took full advantage of French coach Velez Romain setting the course by taking the lead by 0.88 seconds.
Brennsteiner went into second, then Kristoffersen displaced him but couldn’t beat Pinturault’s time as he went 0.14 slower than the Frenchman.
Kranjec couldn’t repeat his first-run performance as he looked tired in the final part of his effort, so ended up in fifth after Odermatt just held on to win with a very nervy second leg, which saw the Swiss star lose his 0.80 advantage over Pinturault, only to turn it around in the final seven gates.
– – –
Read the full article here