Wengen (Switzerland) (AFP)
Wengen smiles at the tricolors: if the victory in the combined went to the unexpected Austrian descender Matthias Mayer, Alexis Pinturault, who finished at 7/100 and Victor Muffat-Jeandet complete a podium very often tricolor in the Swiss station.
The 29-year-old Austrian, downhill and super-G Olympic champion, in the lead after the downhill, signs his 7th World Cup victory, his first in combined.
Pinturault took the opportunity to take control of the Ski World Cup, ahead of the general classification by two small points (613 pts center 611) the Norwegian Henrik Kristoffersen, who did not participate in the combined. The two men will continue their crossover on Sunday in the slalom.
Victor Muffat-Jeandet, winner of the event in 2018, completes the podium.
Winner of his very first World Cup combined in 2013 already in Wengen, "Pintu" who had already taken 2nd place the following year then 3rd last year behind ... Muffat-Jeandet, had also won in the slalom in 2014.
Very telling statistics on the influence of the French over this specialty with an uncertain future: a Frenchman has always climbed the podium in the last 19 World Cup combined. The last podium from which the Blues were absent is that of Kitzbühel won by Ivica Kostelic in January 2012.
France thus equals the record previously held by Switzerland between 1983 and 1987.
- "Pintu" fails at 7 / 100th -
Mayer, who had widened the gap earlier in the descent, ahead of the Swiss Gilles Roulin by 53/100 and the Austrian Daniel Danklmaier by 67/100, delivered a superb round between the stakes to resist all the specialists of the slalom.
In the end, against all odds, he took a breath (7/100) Pinturault who had the best time in the slalom to take back more than a second and a half. Muffat-Jeandet finished 3rd at 67/100.
"I had a perfect downhill. And my slalom was just amazing," said Mayer, who has not trained "more than ten times in slalom this season," according to his trainer.
Pinturault admitted that "Matthias (Mayer) was the strongest today".
Beaten for so little, Pinturault did not want to be disappointed because "these gaps, as small as they are, are part of our sport. Sometimes it is in our favor, other times not".
For Muffat-Jeandet, Switzerland often rhymes with podium, after its 3rd place Saturday in the giant Adelboden, and this 4th podium in Wengen in 6 years.
"Another podium so we're not going to be choosy. I was in trouble with the snow during the slalom, I negotiated this round badly so things will have to be corrected on Sunday for the + true + slalom", a- he reacted.
"I had already won the handset here and also took second place, so I complete my collection of pewter teapots!", He added.
Nils Allègre finished 16th and Blaise Giezendanner 24th. Maxence Muzaton, well placed after the descent, retired in the slalom.
Sam Alphand, one of Luc Alphand's sons, who was competing in his first World Cup race, also dropped out in slalom.
The descent of the handset had been interrupted following the fall of the Norwegian Adrian Smiseth Sejersted. The skier who started with the bib 36, went to the fault and ended up in the protective nets. The Norwegian, whose state of health was not specified, was then evacuated by helicopter.
© 2020 AFP