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Switzerland’s Marco Odermatt wins the giant slalom at the World Cup

ADELBODEN – Marco Odermatt brought his outstanding streak in giant slalom to another World Cup win on Saturday in his home country’s classic race, which took place in unseasonably warm weather.

Odermatt, the Olympic champion, defended his lead in the first heat at twilight and even extended it with the fastest time in the second stage, finishing 0.73 seconds ahead of Henrik Christoffersen.

“I was at the limit two, three, four times on the inside ski. It was incredible,” Odermatt told Swiss television channel RTS of his aggressive second run.

Kristoffersen bowed in respect as he welcomed Odermatt to the finish area and gave him a thumbs up. Odermatt’s teammate Loïc Meillard fell behind in third place with a score of 1.66 points.

The 25-year-old Swiss’s fourth win in five World Cup giant slalom since October was also his 14th consecutive podium finish in his outstanding discipline over the past two seasons. This run includes it gold medal at the Beijing Olympics last February.

The 17th win of Odermatt’s career in World Cup racing was his 11th victory in giant slalom. This extended the reigning champion’s lead in the overall World Cup standings.

“When it’s such a fast course in the second moto and Marco is flying the way he is now, then I know there’s not much of a chance,” said Kristoffersen after his fifth career podium in classic Adelboden without a single finish. win. “Still the only one who is somewhat close (to Odermatt) and far ahead of everyone else.”

The home favorite was driven to the finish line by a sold-out crowd of over 20,000, mostly gathered around the steep last slope of the legendary Chuenisbergli circuit.

Warm and snowless winter weather for several weeks in Central Europe created what Swiss broadcasters called “almost a miracle” when organizers were able to stage the race.

Racers glided across a white belt of soft, sun-drenched artificial snow along lush green fields that serve as pastures for cows in the summer.

Temperatures were just above freezing during the first run on Saturday morning and climbed to around 7 Celsius (45 Fahrenheit) when the return leg began at 1:30 p.m. local time.

The lights in Adelboden are rapidly dimming as the sun sets behind the surrounding hills during the second run, and the leaders of the first run waited out the 15-minute stop after Victor Muffe-Jandet crashed.

The French rider rolled over when his right hand hit the pivot gate and he crashed into the guardrails. Muffat-Jandet was carried away on a stretcher, his injuries unclear.

It was relatively late at 2:40 p.m. when Odermatt was the last starter just after Kristoffersen’s impressive run led to a big lead.

“I really could enjoy today’s race. After last year, I know I can win this race,” said Odermatt, who ended a 14-year wait in Switzerland a year ago.

With 100 World Cup points for the win, Odermatt now leads Alexander Aamodt Kilde by 400 points, who finished ninth on Saturday in a rare giant slalom start.

“Today’s top 10 is incredible,” said Kilde, the 2020 overall champion who leads the downhill race. “With number 31 and this result, it’s really amazing.”

On Sunday, Adelboden will take part in the slalom, which Odermatt will miss, and Kristoffersen will have the opportunity to once again take the podium in the race, which he won twice.

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