SELDEN, Austria (NWN) – Austrian skier Roland Leitinger surprised the favorites ahead of the race with his fastest time in the opening race of the Men’s Giant Slalom World Championship on Sunday.
Leitinger, who started 19th, easily beat world champion Mathieu Favre of France by 0.19 seconds, followed by Swiss skier Marco Odermatt, two hundredths of a second behind to finish third.
Overall defender and GS World Cup champion Alexis Pinturo had 0.57 points in the second leg, while American rider River Radamus impressed with his acrobatic recovery on the run before finishing ninth fastest.
While the best skiers raced on the track, which was still partially in the shade, by the time Leitinger started, the sun had risen.
“I found the right balance between aggression and control. “You can’t completely risk breaking all these twenty gates on the steep slopes,” Leitinger said.
Lightninger finished second to Marcel Hirscher, winning silver at the 2017 World Cup, but was no better than sixth in the World Cup giant slalom. However, he received one podium finish after finishing third in a parallel race in 2019.
If he maintains his lead, Leitinger will become the first Austrian male skier besides Hirscher to win the GS since Philip Schorghofer won in February 2011. Record eight-time undisputed champion Hirscher, who retired two years ago, has dominated the discipline for many. years, winning the GS season title six times.
Radamus escaped an accident as his right ski lifted high into the air, and the American did well, staying on course and finishing in the top ten in the first run.
“I just really wanted to spend the season charging and leave it as it is,” said Radamus, whose best GS result was 14th in a race in Bulgaria last February.
“I feel like I was training with speed. And so I just try to be more fearless, pay more attention to it and try to attack. I made a lot of mistakes, but in the end it paid off because I was over the limit. “
Radamus was the 2019 GS Junior World Champion, but he failed to match those results in the World Cup races.
“I felt like too many times in the past year I regretted the turns I didn’t charge, and not the mistakes I made,” he said. “I am really proud of my energy and proud of my efforts.”
Radamus attracted attention not only with his skiing, but also with the fact that he continued the tradition of coming to the opening race in Austria with a bright sporting event.
“Just to start the season,” he said, pointing to the panther-like colors on his head. “This is from Chad Fleischer, the great American skier of yesteryear. So this is my tribute to him, it’s cool and gets a lot of comments. “
Another member of the US ski team, Ryan Cochran-Siegl, returned to the World Championships nine months after suffering a minor fracture of his neck in an accident in Kitzbühel.
Cochran-Siegle finished 31st and missed the qualifying round in the second heat by a hundredth of a second.
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