BORMIO, Italy (AP) — Make it five wins in 12 starts for Marco Odermatt this season.
The Swiss skier maintained his dazzling form in the last World Cup race of 2022 by dominating a super-G on one of the tour’s toughest courses.
Racing in sunny conditions under a blue sky, Odermatt didn’t have the fastest start but outclassed his competitors on all other sections of the icy and demanding Stelvio. Even a moment of insecurity, when he had to regain balance after hitting a gate with his right arm, didn’t put him off.
“It was really a nearly perfect run for me. Very difficult race, very difficult course setting,” Odermatt said. “I had a good feeling from the first gate, so I could push and I was somehow always one step ahead.”
Odermatt looked impressed after crossing the finish line and seeing his lead at that time: 2.26 seconds.
Later, Vincent Kriechmayr came closest as he finished 0.64 behind Odermatt in second, a day after the world super-G champion from Austria had won the classic downhill at the same venue.
Odermatt’s Swiss teammate Loic Meillard was 1.22 back in third for his 11th career World Cup podium but first in super-G.
“Great team performance, with Loic on the podium as well, and Stefan (Rogentin), Gino (Caviezel) and also Justin (Murisier) in the top 15. It’s a great race,” Odermatt said.
Aleksander Aamodt Kilde trailed Odermatt by 2.15 seconds in eighth as the Norwegian, who is second in the overall standings, saw his deficit to his Swiss rival increase to 329 points.
Kilde had won five of the last eight super-G races and never finished worse than fourth.
After 14 of this season’s 38 events, Odermatt has racked up 946 points, turning him into a serious contender to break the men’s record for most World Cup points in a single season.
The current best mark of 2,000 was set by Austrian great Hermann Maier 13 years ago. On the women’s side, only Slovenian standout Tina Maze (2,414 in 2013) and American four-time overall champion Mikaela Shiffrin (2,204 in 2019) gathered more points in a season.
Odermatt’s win came hours after Olympic super-G champion Matthias Mayer surprisingly retired with immediate effect.
Mayer took part in the racers’ course inspection in the morning, but then announced his decision in an interview with Austrian TV.
“We’ve been good friends, we just drank a beer two days ago. We had fun, talked together,” Odermatt said. “It was a big surprise for everybody and, for sure, also for me. For him, it’s the right way.”
The race, which was interrupted for 10 minutes when a dog was running up and down the course, was the second super-G of the season. The men’s World Cup continues with a slalom in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, next Wednesday.
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