Sölden (Austria) (AFP)
Young Norwegian Lucas Braathen claimed his first career victory over the opening giant of Sölden (Austria) on Sunday, where Alexis Pinturault fell short of the podium.
At only 20 years old, Braathen beat two Swiss: Marco Odermatt, another great hope of world skiing, is 2nd at 5 hundredths of a second and Gino Caviezel, 3rd at 46 hundredths, climbs at 28 on his first World Cup podium. .
For once, you were more likely to come across a chamois on the inhospitable slopes that threaten the Ötztal valley, than a noisy supporter leaving one of Sölden's many bars.
No party, no Schlager (popular music queen of après-ski of uneven quality), the closed door decreed for this weekend due to the health crisis was heartbreaking for the Austrians, who would return to deprive a Brazilian of football.
Up there on the Rettenbach glacier, at an altitude of over 3,000 m, it is precisely a South American skier who ruled the day.
Lucas Braathen, Brazilian by his mother, confirmed that his talent would not wait by dominating the first race of his career at only 20 years old thanks to an excellent second run (5th after the first) in the terrible wall of Sölden.
The boy from Oslo, who speaks Portuguese and was spending his youth holidays in Sao Paulo, revealed himself last winter by finishing 4th in the slalom at Kitzbühel (Austria).
"You have to ski to the limit to win, choose smart lines. I'm a little crazy guy and I go as fast as possible, sometimes it does not go. There, I am speechless", rejoiced Braathen after the race.
"I want to establish myself this season in the world top 5 in slalom and giant and succeed in my Worlds (in February 2021 in Italy)."
- "I missed the beat" -
He was ahead of Marco Odermatt, also brilliant in the 2nd heat (best time), a versatile skier programmed to dominate world skiing, who climbed at 23 on his 5th podium.
It is therefore the first time since 2015 that another skier than Alexis Pinturault has won in Sölden (victories in 2016 and 2019, race canceled in 2017 and 2018).
The Frenchman, second in the general classification last winter, seemed less comfortable than usual in the wall but has started his winter rather well, despite the frustration of seeing the Swiss Gino Caviezel, the best time of the first round. , blow him the podium on the gong for three hundredths of a second.
He lamented a problem with his left hand that had occurred last week, which cost him his last days of preparation: "There are still four days, I was not able to push at the start for example. But today, It was anecdotal, it's mostly the rhythm that I missed. That's why I make mistakes. "
- Kilde out -
Holder of the Big Crystal Globe title, the Norwegian Aleksander Aamodt Kilde started the season upside down by going off the track in the first round, when his consistency is normally his main strength.
He had only gone out twice in 27 races last winter.
His compatriot Henrik Kristoffersen took 5th place.
“I was in the middle of the trail, I slipped a little and then my ski hit the ground and I fell. Maybe I didn't fight enough, I think I could have made it right. I'll do better next time, "said Kilde, adding that he hadn't hurt himself when he fell.
Frenchman Thibaut Favrot made a success of his day (9th) unlike Victor Muffat-Jeandet (16th) and Mathieu Faivre (26th).
The weekend in Tyrol thus launched a season made uncertain by the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The races were held behind closed doors in accordance with a strict health protocol (tests for all participants, limited travel for followers and even prohibited for hoteliers for four days).
The men's and women's circuits must meet in Lech, still in Austria, on November 13 and 14 for two events in the parallel format.
© 2020 AFP