Marco Odermatt ended a 14-year wait for a Swiss winner on the classic Adelboden slope.
Odermatt held on to his first-run lead to win a giant slalom World Cup race in front of 13,000 jubilant Swiss fans on Saturday.
The overall World Cup leader overcame an error near the end to finish 0.48 seconds ahead of Manuel Feller of Austria, who had the fastest time in the second run. Alexis Pinturault of France was third, 0.54 seconds back.
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It was Odermatt’s fourth win in five GS races this season, but definitely the sweetest. He became the first Swiss winner at Adelboden since Marc Berthod won a slalom race in 2007.
"I really wanted to win today and give all the Swiss guys here a great show,” Odermatt said. "Wow, I was nervous. And a little bit proud that I managed to ski down here twice like this.”
The win means Odermatt joins an elite group in Alpine skiing history. He is only the fifth man, after Jean-Claude Killy, Ingemar Stenmark, Ted Ligety and Marcel Hirscher, to win four of the first five GS races in a World Cup season.
It also underlined his status as the big favourite for the giant slalom gold medal at the Beijing Olympics next month.
But he nearly cost himself the victory with a mistake near the bottom of the final steep section of the course, before managing to recover.
”I felt it was OK on the top, I tried to push really hard,” he said. "Then I thought ’s***, that’s not good.’ But I tried to fight, and somehow it works.”
His win created a deafening roar from the home fans, who were absent from the race last year during the pandemic.
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