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Dominant Odermatt storms to giant slalom win in Val d’Isère

Switzerland’s Marco Odermatt again showed that he’s the man to beat in giant slalom by taking a commanding win in the discipline as the FIS Alpine Skiing World Cup headed back to Europe for a weekend of action in Val d’Isère, France.

In the first giant slalom race on the men’s World Cup tour since Odermatt won the season opener in Sölden back in October, the 25-year-old picked up where he left off, winning by 1.4s over Austria’s Manuel Feller, with Slovenia’s Zan Kranjec claiming third.

The victory was Odermatt’s seventh triumph in the last 10 World Cup giant slalom races dating back to the beginning of the 20221–22 and his sixth straight podium across three disciplines to open the current campaign.

After winning he giant slalom on the Face de Bellevarde piste for the second successive season, Odermatt said: “It was a big fight again, I gave it everything. It’s probably one of my best races ever, so it’s a great victory here.”

The Olympic giant slalom champion set up the victory with a scintillating first run to open up a 0.45s gap over Feller. No other racer finished within a second of Odermatt’s time.

Skiing last in the second run, Odermatt defied the ruts and bumps on the course to increase his lead over Feller at every split and record a decisive victory.

The defending overall World Cup champion extended his lead in this season’s title chase to 140 points over Norway’s Aleksander Aamodt Kilde, who was not racing in Val d’Isère.

In the opening men’s slalom event of the season, Norway’s Lucas Braathen took the win after a blistering second run gave him victory by 0.84s over giant slalom runner-up Manuel Feller, with Switzerland’s Loïc Meillard claiming third.

Braathen’s victory gave the Norwegian technical team a national record of five straight men’s World Cup slalom wins, following two triumphs by Henrik Kristoffersen and two by Atle Lie McGrath in the last four races of last season.

Meillard came from fifth after the first run to move up two places and sneak onto the podium.

In the women’s moguls in Idre Fjäll, Sweden, Japan’s Anri Kawamura claimed another podium finish by scoring 80.02 points to finish second behind victor Jakarta Anthony.

There was a history-making performance for 17-year-old Australian snowboarding prodigy Valentino Guseli at the The Style Experience Big Air World Cup in Edmonton, Canda, where he scored his first career World Cup victory and the first big air win in World Cup history for a rider from Australia.

Guseli landed a Backside Triple 16 absolutely perfectly on his second run to earn himself a score of 87.00 and a combined total of 172.50 that handed him victory over Chris Corning of the United States.

Header image: Marco Odermatt of Switzerland in action during 1st run of men’s Giant Slalom of FIS ski alpine world cup opening at the Rettenbachferner in Sölden, Austria. Credit: Erich Spiess / Red Bull Content Pool

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