SÖLDEN, Austria (AFP) – Switzerland’s Marco Odermatt claimed the opening race of the World Cup season by winning the giant slalom in Soelden, Austria, on Sunday.
Last year’s overall World Cup title winner beat Slovenia’s Zan Kranjec into second place with Norway’s Henrik Kristoffersen in third.
Odermatt won seven races and the Olympic giant slalom title last season and the 25-year-old started the 2022-2023 season in the same vein.
He was 0.76sec ahead of Kranjec and nearly a second faster than Kristoffersen as he won in Soelden for the second consecutive year.
Watched by 14,500 spectators on the Rettenbach glacier, Odermatt quickly corrected a near slip at the start of his second run and pushed to victory.
With the 100 points for a win he goes straight to the top of the overall board, which he dominated for the whole of last season.
There was disappointment though for France’s Alexis Pinturault, the world number one two seasons ago, who finished 20th. He had never finished lower than fifth in his last eight races in Soelden.
“The result shows how much work I have got to do,” Pinturault said. “I feel fine mentally... but I am not at all where I want to be at this point.”
The women’s giant slalom at the same venue was cancelled on Saturday because of heavy rain and snow.
The men’s circuit moves onto Lech in Austria for a parallel slalom on November 13.