Alexis Pinturault kicked off his 2020 winter in the best possible way on Sunday, taking the men’s Giant Slalom in Sölden, Austria, and showing that he will be the man to beat this year in GS.
Alexis Pinturault led after the first run and managed to battle through dark conditions in the second run to extend his lead and take his 24th career World Cup victory over his French teammate, Mathieu Faivre, who finished 0.54 seconds back in second. Slovenia’s Zan Kranjec rounded out the contested podium in third. It was Pinturault’s 12th career Giant Slalom win. For Faivre, it was his best finish since last December and his seventh career podium.
All eyes were on Pinturault entering today’s race. After finishing in second place in last year’s Overall race (third in 2014, 2015 and 2016), he was dubbed one of the favorites to fill the footsteps of now-retired Marcel Hirscher. The Frenchman wasted no time in the season-opener setting the tone as he held the lead after the first run, albeit by a slim 0.02 seconds margin ahead of Faivre. "It was really fantastic", Pinturault said after the race. "I had two solid runs. It was really hard on the second run we couldn’t see anything on the piste". The second run proved to be tough for a handful of athletes, including young Swiss rising star Marco Odermatt, who sat in third place after the first run but slipped to 13th after a costly mistake. Taking advantage of Odermatt’s misfortune was Slovenian Zan Kranjec, who landed on the podium 0.63 seconds off the winning pace.