Dominant Odermatt Wins Giant Slalom Opener In Val DIsere

Vald’Isère, (APP – UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News – 10th Dec, 2023) Marco Odermatt made it a hat-trick of wins in the giant slalom at Val d’Isere on Saturday, while Joan Verdu, in third place, gave Andorra its first podium finish in the competition.

Swiss ace Odermatt, who also won the event in 2021 and 2022, notched his 25th World Cup victory as he set the pace in the opening giant slalom of the season.

“It’s amazing to start the season with another victory here for the third time in a row,” said Odermatt.

“It’s not easy to ski here, but I still love this hill.

“It’s always a tough race and a difficult hill. At the start, I didn’t feel 100 percent, but for me it’s always a good hill.”

The win underlined Odermatt’s dominance of the discipline.

He is the current Olympic and world champion and has won 13 of 19 giant slalom races over the past two seasons, making the podium in all but one of those.

In snowy conditions, he clocked the quickest time on the first run and, despite making a few mistakes, did enough in the second run to finish 0.98 seconds ahead of the Austrian Marco Schwarz.

“The visibility was very flat and I struggled a bit at the top with many little mistakes,” said Odermatt.

“I knew I had to push hard from the middle to the bottom and I think it worked.

It was an emotional moment for Verdu who was cheered on by his father and brother as he finished 1.32sec behind Odermatt in third to give Andorra its first ever podium.

“It’s crazy, I really don’t believe it,” said Verdu.

“We’ve worked so hard for this. There has been a lot of hard moments and injuries.

“I am really proud to represent Andorra at this level. I just want to inspire all the Andorran little guns to believe and to push hard.”

Henrik Kristoffersen, who was second on the opening run 0.65sec behind Odermatt, struggled badly on the second run coming home 24th for an eighth-placed finish.

Schwarz leads the overall standings, 36 points clear of Manuel Feller with Overmatt 60 points behind in third.

It was only the second completed men’s race of the season, with six of the previous seven cancelled since racers took back to the snow at the end of October.

Only a slalom in Gurgl, Austria, had gone ahead. The season giant slalom opener in neighbouring Soelden was cancelled, before two downhills in Zermatt-Cervinia (Switzerland/Italy) were also scratched.

Last weekend’s races at the American resort of Beaver Creek — two downhills and a super-G — were wiped out by heavy snowfall and high winds.


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