Odermatt Pips Kilde In Cortina Super G

Marco Odermatt claimed his third super-G of the season. Odermatt and Aleksander Aamodt Kilde proved once again they are in a class of their own at the top of men’s Alpine speed skiing with the heavyweight duo producing a clash for the ages in Cortina D’Ampezzo on Saturday.

Odermatt took the win on Saturday, after taking a short hiatus following a minor injury he sustained in Kitzbuhel, Austria.  The conditions were excellent, with some describing the snow as Colorado snow, with sunny skies above and a comfortable temperature.

The pair arrived in Italy for the first ever men’s super-G race down the famous Olympia delle Tofane track having shared the first four Audi FIS World Cup races of the season.

And after a highly skilful and typically powerful run put Kilde well clear of the field it looked like the cheerful Norwegian was on course to pull clear of his great rival – particularly with Odermatt having missed last week’s giant slalom in Schladming due to a troublesome left knee.

But the Swiss star was having none of it. Any injury doubts were seemingly dispelled right from start with Odermatt snapping into the tuck down the Tofana Schuss – Cortina’s signature chute that snakes between two towering walls of rock – quicker than anyone.

It was a superb performance with the 25-year-old leader of the overall season standings finishing in a time of 1:25.57. And it was down to Kilde, who ended 0.35 seconds behind and remains second in both the super-G and overall season standings, to best sum up just how good his adversary was.

“I know Marco Odermatt is always going to be fast,” laughed Kilde. “It doesn’t matter if he was out for a couple of days or not, as long as he can kind of get ready for those two minutes, one-and-a-half-minutes you have to go then everything is possible. And with the skiing Marco is doing now I knew he was going to be there.”

The ever modest Odermatt insisted he was not quite so sure.

“I really didn’t expect it like that. I wasn’t sure how much I could go to the limit today and as well while racing (I) didn’t feel like going to the limit actually. I just tried to ski clean and gain confidence gate-by-gate and it worked,” he said.

“I think it was a difficult course setting and with bib 14 I could see some guys racing and that helped me really have a line in my head and to gain some confidence from watching the other guys.”

The top two were not the only stars of the show, with the Olympia delle Tofane – a regular stop on the women’s World Cup tour – shining brightly. Quick and flowing the course, which last staged a men’s World Cup downhill 33 years ago, tested the best men’s speed skiers, while giving everyone a chance.

Local skier Mattia Casse proved just that as he delighted the hordes of Italian fans by grabbing third behind the two big beasts.

The 32-year-old Italian began this season having never finished on a World Cup podium in more than 150 starts, but he now has three in his past eight races.

“This season I’m taking one big step in super-G from the start of the season. I started 26th (in the rankings) and step-by-step I go to the top position this January,” said Casse who finished third in downhill in Val Gardena and Wengen.

“I am training every time for this,” he added.

Casse, who was 19th out of the gate, was not the only skier to take advantage of the quickening conditions as the sun started to flood Cortina’s stunning slopes.

First Stefan Babinsky, racing in bib No.21, denied his storied Austrian teammate Vincent Kriechmayr fourth place – comfortably his best ever World Cup performance in 49 starts. But then, in even more of a shock, the pair’s 21-year-old compatriot Lukas Feurstein who was 43rd out of the gate, grabbed sixth after a breath-taking run.

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