Olympic champion Marco Odermatt capped what he called “an ideal season” by securing his second straight World Cup title in giant slalom Sunday.
The Swiss skier won the penultimate GS of the season, beating his only rival for the GS title before the race, Henrik Kristoffersen, by 0.32 seconds. He posted a combined winning time of two minutes 20.91 seconds.
Odermatt prolonged his lead over the Norwegian to 160 points within the GS standings, locking up the title with only 100 points still at stake on the season-ending race next Saturday.
“It’s crazy, I can not really imagine that,” Odermatt said from Kranjska Gora, Slovenia. “It was one other battle today within the second run. I made my mistakes, just before the flats, I assumed ‘oh, that is going to be tight’ so I risked all of it and it worked out.”
Odermatt won a GS on the identical hill Saturday and triumphed in six of the nine giant slaloms he began this season.
Odermatt earlier successfully defended his overall title, while also winning the super-G globe and world titles in GS and downhill.
“When you don’t call this an ideal season, then when would you accomplish that?” the Swiss standout asked.
Odermatt has gathered 1,826 points and is closing in on the 23-year-old men’s record for many World Cup points in a single season — 2,000, set by Austrian great Hermann Maier within the 1999-2000 season.
‘A bit like Marcel’
After Sunday’s race, he draw praise from his rivals, as third-place Alexis Pinturault called Odermatt’s season “sensational” and compared him with Austrian record eight-time overall champion Marcel Hirscher.
“A bit like Marcel previously, winning in all places, in numerous disciplines, and likewise very strong in the massive events like world championships and Olympic Games,” the Frenchman said about Odermatt.
Kristoffersen, nevertheless, thought he could close the gap to Odermatt next yr, at the least in GS.
“He’s just a little bit higher for the time being but we catch up with and closer,” the Norwegian said. “It is a bit prefer it was with Marcel and Ted [Ligety] previously. For 2 years, Ted was all the time ahead, then got here Marcel. So let’s examine what happens next season.”
Racing in sunny and warm conditions on the Podkoren 3 course, Odermatt built on his first-run lead of 0.28 seconds as he overcame a mistake halfway through his run and nearly lost his advantage.
Nevertheless, he gained time again with a gutsy final section.
Pinturault was 0.70 behind in third. Fourth-place home favourite Zan Kranjec was already greater than 1.6 seconds off the pace.
Erik Read of Calgary, the lone Canadian within the second run, placed twenty eighth of 29 finishers in 2:26.09. Asher Jordan of North Vancouver, B.C., and Calgary’s Liam Wallace were amongst 19 athletes who didn’t finish the opening run.
The World Cup finals in Soldeu, Andorra, start with a downhill Wednesday.
Only the slalom title continues to be vacant, with the highest 4 racers separated by lower than 100 points. The slalom is the last race of the season, next Sunday.