After a grueling week of speed and technical racing that appeared to take its toll on Marco Odermatt by Sunday morning, the Swiss star joked that he was further drained of energy simply by watching the dramatic OKBET FIFA World Cup final later in the day. This came after a week in which the racing seemed to take its toll on Odermatt as the competition progressed.
But nevertheless, Odermatt was able to dig deep and regain his best form on Monday in Alta Badia, where he won his third giant slalom race of the season. With this victory, he increased his lead in the overall World Cup standings to 271 points over Aleksander Aamodt Kilde of Norway.
Odermatt survived a ragged second run that almost saw him go down several times to win by 0.20 seconds over Henrik Kristoffersen of Norway, with Slovenia’s Zan Kranjec finishing in third place overall. Odermatt had taken a lead of 0.60 seconds after an impressive first run on the Gran Risa piste in Switzerland.
Odermatt referred to this contest as “perhaps the biggest battle ever.” Already at the beginning of the race, I was exhausted, and my condition did not improve as I skied.
It was a tough week for Odermatt in the Italian Dolomites, as he skied four events in five days and finished on the podium three times. His triumph was the highlight of the week.
“Difficult, challenging, and draining,” were his exact words. “after having spent the previous week at Val Gardena, and then coming here — two competitions in a row, four extremely challenging courses, with a lot of turns.
“A 1:20 GS is really lengthy and taxing on the legs,”
Kristoffersen was forced to settle for coming in second position for the second day in a row, and he acknowledged the accomplishments of his Swiss competitor.
Kristoffersen said that Marco was skiing exceptionally well and at a rapid pace. “At the moment, he seems to be floating around on a cloud,” we were told.
The Norwegian competitor criticized the fact that the race was lost in the first run, stating that the gap of more than half a second did not provide him with a sufficient platform to attack on the second run.
“I stated after the first run that we should have been three or four tenths closer to Marco because then you put so much pressure on him,” Kristoffersen said. “It would have been much much easier for us to win.”
“With six (tenths), it’s a little bit too much of a buffer,” she said. “With four, it’s about right.”
Kranjec moved up from fourth after the first run to finish third and record the podium finish that escaped him on Sunday, when he led after the first run but finished fifth. (Agence Zoom) Henrik Kristoffersen battles the Gran Risa slope, which he refers to as a “real GS.” (Agence Zoom)
He said, “I’m really glad about today,” and I believe he meant it. “After the second run the day before, I was a little bit anxious about today since I didn’t know exactly why I was so slow in the second run. Today turned out to be a good day.
“(Today) I make some changes in the second run, also in the equipment, and it worked out well,” said the speaker.
Loic Meillard, who competed for Switzerland, finished just 0.40 seconds off the podium, falling one spot from third to fourth.
The fact that Kristoffersen has been using the phrase “real GS” to describe the course during the whole weekend was validated on Monday.
Some of the best skiers in the world were caught off guard by the difficult Gran Risa piste, as Austria’s Manuel Feller, Italy’s Luca de Aliprandini, and Norway’s Lucas Braathen, who won the race on Sunday, did not even make it to the halfway point of the first run before they faltered and were unable to finish it.
Odermatt had a rough first run on Sunday, but he did not have any troubles at all on Monday. He will now head back to Switzerland for a well-deserved break over the Christmas holiday.
“Five days at home, that’s much required after long weeks already in North America, straight to Val d’Isère, Val Gardena, and Alta Badia,” he said. “That’s much needed after long weeks already in North America, straight to Val d’Isère, Val Gardena, and Alta Badia.”
“Very challenging period but also a very nice time for sure; however, I am looking forward to five days off.”