Schwarz pips Odermatt in California giant slalom

Austrian beats Swiss star Odermatt by 0.03 seconds to win his first World Cup

AFP February 26, 2023


Austria's Marco Schwarz won his first World Cup giant slalom beating Swiss favourite Marco Odermatt by three hundredths of a second at Palisades Tahoe on Saturday.

Odermatt, the overall World Cup leader who earned World Championships giant slalom and downhill gold in Courchevel this month, led after the first run but the pressure was on after a fine second effort from Schwarz.

The Swiss lost his line, going wide in the upper section of the course, losing over half a second on Schwarz but then attacked the bottom of the course making up time but falling just short.

The win for Schwarz is the first giant slalom World Cup win for Austria since the now retired technical specialist Marcel Hircher's 2019 triumph in Adelboden.

Schwarz won bronze at the recent World Championships and took silver in the combined.

It was Odermatt's 16th straight podium in giant slalom and extends his lead over Norway's Aleksander Aamodt Kilde in the overall standings to 386 points.

Kilde finished in 24th place, 3.05 seconds off the winning pace but his compatriot Rasmus Windingstad took third, 0.36 seconds behind Schwarz, for his third career podium and his first since 2019 in Alta Badia.

Another Norwegian, Henrik Kristoffersen, who is second to Odermatt in the giant slalom standings, finished fourth.

There was disappointment for France's Alexis Pinturault, who was just 25 hundredths off the lead after the first run but ended up in seventh, 1.40 seconds off Schwarz.

Switzerland's Loic Meillard, giant slalom silver medallist behind Odermatt at the World Championships, finished 11th.

The start of the first race was delayed by an hour due to heavy snowfall in recent days.

The California resort -- which hosted the Olympic Games in 1960 under its former name of Squaw Valley -- is hosting World Cup races for the first time since women raced there in 2017.

Men are slated to end the stop with a slalom on Sunday.


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