ADELBODEN, Switzerland – French skier Alexis Pinturault stretched his lead at the top of the overall World Cup standings by winning a giant slalom on Friday, posting the fastest time in both runs.
Pinturault finished 1.04 seconds ahead of Filip Zubcic on the icy Chuenisbärgli course. Marco Odermatt was third, 1.11 back, to retain a small lead over Pinturault in the season-long giant slalom standings.
Odermatt was aiming to end Switzerland’s 13-year wait for a win in the country’s classic giant slalom race.
Defending overall champion Aleksander Aamodt Kilde was more than a second further back in fourth in what is shaping up as another duel with Pinturault for the title.
Kilde completed his run and immediately went to check on injured Norwegian teammate Lucas Braathen, who was being treated on the snow after crashing across the finish line while setting a leading time.
Braathen lost his balance when his skis appeared to touch as he shifted his feet to ensure his right ski did not hook around the last gate. His injuries are reported as bruises to the knee, and he is not expected to start on Saturday.
Adelboden is traditionally a tough place to defend a first-run lead. Most of the sunshine lighting the slope in the morning disappears behind the surrounding mountains by 2 p.m., when Pinturault started his second run.
The Frenchman’s second career win in Adelboden was the 32nd of his World Cup career, one behind Bode Miller, who is ninth on the men’s all-time list.
Pinturault joins greats such as Ingemar Stenmark and Hermann Maier, who managed to win twice on the rolling Swiss terrain that serves as a cow pasture in the summer months.
Tommy Ford led the way for the Americans in 10th, followed by Ryan Cochran-Siegle in 12th. River Radamus rounded out a strong U.S. showing in 18th. Ted Ligety did not qualify for second run.
For Radamus, who missed the flip in the Adelboden GS by .01 seconds in 2020, used that disappointing result to propel him to the best GS result of his career.
“The day after the race last year, I took a screenshot of the results page and had it as my phone background for the last year,” Radamus told the ski team. “It was probably one of the toughest days of my skiing career and so I used it as motivation all summer and coming into this season. To get in and find some points and have my personal best here a year later means a lot to me … Not feeling like I had my best skiing and having a personal best means I’m on the right track and the things I’ve been doing all summer are paying off.”
Erik Read was the top Canadian in 16th, followed by Trevor Philp in 26th.
A second giant slalom is scheduled for Saturday, a race that would normally draw more than 25,000 noisy Swiss fans in a normal season. No spectators can attend this year because of limits on mass gatherings amid the coronavirus pandemic.