Alpine Skiing

Odermatt overtakes rival Pinturault for top spot in men's giant slalom

Swiss skier Marco Odermatt won a men's World Cup giant slalom on Saturday to go top of the discipline standings with one race remaining. Canadians Erik Read and Trevor Philp finished 16th and 19th, respectively.

Cuts Frenchman's overall lead to 31 points; 2 Canadians place inside top 20

Marco Odermatt of Switzerland closed to within 31 points of overall World Cup leader Alex Pinturault with Saturday's giant slalom win in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia. (Stanko Gruden/Agence Zoom/Getty Images)

Marco Odermatt won a men's World Cup giant slalom on Saturday to go top of the discipline standings with one race remaining.

The Swiss skier had a blistering final run, clocking one minute 6.67 seconds, as he improved from fourth position to win the race in 2:12.87, 1.06 seconds ahead of Loic Meillard. The latter was fastest in the opening run but posted only the 26th-fastest time in the final run.

Odermatt overtook his main rival in the GS standings, Alexis Pinturault, and built a lead of 25 points. A race win is worth 100 points.

The Frenchman finished Saturday's race in fourth in a two-run time of 2:13.98.

One more GS is scheduled at the season-ending finals in Lenzerheide, Switzerland, next week.

"I really don't know how I managed to do this today. I was tired," Odermatt said from Kranjska Gora, Slovenia. "My emotions are somewhere; I don't know where. I am really happy about my skiing today."

Pinturault and Odermatt are ranked 1-2 in the overall standings, with the Frenchman's lead now reduced to just 31 points.

However, Pinturault was expected to gain points again in Sunday's slalom, an event which Odermatt will be sitting out.

Canada's Erik Read and Trevor Philp placed inside the top 20, finishing 16th and tied for 19th in 2:15.03 and 2:15.49, respectively.

Swiss 1-2 finish

Odermatt also has a shot at the super-G title next week in the Swiss skier's breakout season on the World Cup.

A four-time gold medallist at the 2018 junior world championships, Odermatt won his first World Cup race last season, before adding three more wins in the current campaign.

In December, he ended a 10-year Swiss victory drought in men's giant slaloms.

On Saturday, Odermatt led a Swiss 1-2 finish, 1.06 seconds ahead of Loic Meillard, who was fastest in the opening run but posted only the 26th-fastest time in the final run.

It was Meillard's seventh career podium, including one win from a parallel GS a year ago.

Stefan Brennsteiner of Austria was 1.09 behind in third, two weeks after he had the first top-three result of his career.

His teammate Marco Schwarz opted not to start. The combined world champion hurt his back in training this week and preferred to rest ahead of Sunday's slalom, the Austria's strongest discipline.

With files from CBC Sports

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