Zenhaeusern comes from behind to capture season-opening slalom

Ramon Zenhaeusern won the first men's World Cup slalom of the season on Monday, improving from eighth position after the opening run.

Race times slowed by tough conditions on Gran Risa course

Ramon Zenhaeusern of Switzerland celebrates his slalom win in Alta Badia, Italy on Monday. (Getty Images)

Ramon Zenhaeusern won the first men's World Cup slalom of the season on Monday, improving from eighth position after the opening run in Alta Badia, Italy.

The Swiss skier beat two Austrians — Manuel Feller and Marco Schwarz — for his fourth career win, but first since March 2019.

First-run leader Alex Vinatzer dropped to fourth in the Italian's first World Cup race after having surgery for appendicitis less than four weeks ago.

Erik Read of Canmore, Alta., finished 16th.

Zenhaeusern was 0.52 seconds off the lead after the first run and posting the 10th fastest time in the final run was enough for the win, 0.08 ahead of Feller and 0.12 ahead of Schwarz.

Slowed by tough snow conditions on the Gran Risa course, many favourites seemed surprised by their finishing times, with some racers shrugging their shoulders or spreading their arms in disbelief.

"It was so tight after the first run, I had to push full on," Zenhaeusern said.

"I was really, really nervous, because I hadn't raced since nearly 11 months. And now this, it's really good. It shows you that all the work in these 11 months pays off."

Daniel Yule and Michael Matt, who were second and third after the opening run, dropped to seventh and 15th, respectively, though they remained within a second of Zenhaeusern's winning time.

WATCH | Schmidhofer slices through safety fencing during crash:

Nicole Schmidhofer slices through safety fencing during crash in downhill race

3 years ago
Duration 2:42
Austria's Nicole Schmidhofer sliced a hole through the safety fencing during her crash at the women's World Cup downhill race in Val d'Isere, France, on Friday.

Alexis Pinturault was 0.77 behind in 11th and the Frenchman strengthened his top position in the overall standings, as his main rival, Aleksander Aamodt Kilde, doesn't compete in slalom.

Slalom World Cup champion Henrik Kristoffersen finished sixth.

The men's slalom season is starting late following changes to the usual calendar amid anti-coronavirus measures.

A night slalom is scheduled in Madonna di Campiglio on Tuesday.

WATCH | Marie-Michèle Gagnon has career day in Val d'Isere:

Canada's Marie-Michele Gagnon scores her 1st top-10 of World Cup season

3 years ago
Duration 2:02
Marie-Michele Gagnon of Lac-Etchemin, Que., crossed the line Saturday in 10th place with a time of 1:45.58 at the women's World Cup event in Val d'Isere, France.

with files from Canadian Press

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