Odermatt shows his mentality for third victory of the season
On 7 January 2023, Marco Odermatt started the year with a victory in the giant slalom in Adelboden; on 18 December, he ended the year with a victory in the giant slalom in Alta Badia, living up to the title of “Sportsman of the Year” he recently won again.
Five World Cup races in five days and Marco Odermatt picked up good points in all competitions. In the packed pre-Christmas schedule, the man from Nidwalden got four more podium finishes in Val Gardena and Alta Badia. This double convincingly underlined that he is currently the best giant slalom racer in the world. This is not just because he is technically world class. There are other factors that make up Odermatt’s recipe for success.
Monday's race on the Gran Risa in Alta Badia exemplified that Odermatt is a mature athlete as he once more praised his equipment and the work of his technician and trainers in interviews. Odi’s 0.87 second lead over Filip Zubcic meant he had some breathing space in the break between runs. Having this lead in the bank meant that Odermatt could feel good about being the last starter.
This also meant he could come up with a tactical plan because the first eight gates of the course set by German coach Bernd Brunner were far from ideal for Odermatt. “The lead meant I could race a bit more ‘smartly’. I knew that the first seven or eight gates didn’t suit me, so it was all about the corners. I realized that I didn’t need the best time at the top there,” Odermatt said after. Only in the last sector did he release himself from his tactical plan and let his skis run free. The result was a third victory of the season, six giant slalom victory in a row, fourth race victory on the Gran Risa in Alta Badia, 26th World Cup victory, and overall lead in the World Cup.
Thomas Tumler can also come away with a feeling of success. The man from Graubünden broke into the top 15 in both giant slalom races in Alta Badia. In the second race on Monday, Tumler opted for the hard ski model that Marco Odermatt also raced with. Tumler attributes his increased success and improved racing feel to this key decision to change.
Marco Odermatt’s racing intelligence, technical ability and equipment on his feet, which he trusts wholeheartedly, are what makes it extremely difficult for the competition to overtake him, especially in the giant slalom. And the man from Nidwalden was just five hundredths of a second (downhill) and three hundredths of a second (Super-G) from ending up with four full victories from the race series in South Tyrol.
Marco Kohler also did something pretty special in the speed races in Val Gardena. The man from the Bernese Oberland has not let serious injuries stop his career, and managed to get his first top-ten finish in his third World Cup race, finishing eighth. “In training, the Saslong was a bit tricky for me as a newcomer. So, I was surprised but also very happy with how things turned out,” said the 26-year-old.
Nicole Good leads the Europa Cup rankings
There were three Europa Cup slaloms from 10 to 16 December in Mayrhofen (one) and Ahrntal (two). Nicole was on the podium at the winners’ ceremony after every race, once on each podium level. By repeating last year’s victory on the challenging piste in Ahrntal, the woman from Saint Gallen showed that she is in good form. “I’ve had a very good start to the Europa Cup season. I’m really happy with how I’m skiing at the moment, and I’m showing what I can do in the races. The races in Ahrntal are always perfectly organized and I like it a lot here,” said the 25-year-old. The three podium finishes mean that Nicole Good is currently leading both the overall Europa Cup rankings and the slalom rankings.