SÖLDEN, Austria (AP) — Swiss skier Marco Odermatt edged surprise first-run leader Roland Leitinger of Austria by .07 of a second Sunday to win the season-opening men’s World Cup giant slalom.
American racer River Radamus, who impressed with an acrobatic recovery during his first run, finished sixth for his best World Cup result.
Odermatt was third after the opening leg, .21 behind Leitinger and .02 behind GS world champion Matthieu Faivre, but used an attacking second run to put both racers ahead of him under pressure.
Faivre dropped to 11th and Leitinger lost fractions on Odermatt at most splits, but still got his career-best result on the World Cup after winning silver at the 2017 world championships.
“Amazing, it was a long and hard summer, we trained so hard,” Odermatt said.
It was Odermatt’s third career GS win, after finishing second in last season’s discipline standings following race wins it Italy and Slovenia.
Odermatt denied Leitinger the chance to become the first Austrian male skier other than Marcel Hirscher to win a GS since Philipp Schörghofer triumphed in February 2011. Record eight-time overall champion Hirscher, who retired two years ago, dominated the discipline for many years, winning the GS season title on six occasions.
Zan Kranjec of Slovenia was one tenth of a second behind in third, followed by Odermatt’s Swiss teammate Gino Caviezel in fourth and defending overall and GS World Cup champion Alexis Pinturault in fifth.
Aleksander Aamodt Kilde, the 2020 overall champion who missed the final two months of last season with a knee injury, sat out the race to prepare for upcoming speed events.