Canada’s Erik Read 10th at rescheduled men’s giant slalom in Italy
Erik Read of Canmore, Alta., followed Saturday’s 10th-place performance in men’s giant slalom by placing 10th in a rescheduled World Cup race on Monday in Santa Caterina di Valfurva, Italy.
The 29-year-old posted the fourth fastest second run on Monday among 28 finishers in one minute 4.38 seconds — 49-100ths of a second behind winner Marco Odermatt of Switzerland — on the way to a two-run time of 2:09.55.
“Huge praise for the course workers and volunteers for preparing the track after an insane snowstorm,” Read told Alpine Canada. “I improved my skiing from Saturday and the podium felt within reach today.
“The speed was there, but I had a few mistakes in one section on the second run. Overall, I’m super pleased to achieve back-to-back top 10s on a competitive circuit and I’m excited to keep pushing.”
Racing was postponed a day as heavy snowfall in the Italian Alps made Sunday’s scheduled competition impossible as “the safety for athletes cannot be guaranteed,” the International Ski Federation stated. Conditions improved into Monday, with low temperatures hardening the surface of the course.
On Saturday, Read clocked 1:09.84 to move from 23rd spot to 10th a week after he placed 12th in parallel slalom in Lech, Austria.
WATCH | Erik Read dominates Saturday’s 2nd run:
Teammate Trevor Philp of Calgary was 16th on Monday in 2:09.84 after placing 18th two days earlier.
“It was a very productive weekend for me, and for us as a team,” said Philp, who entered the weekend ranked 25th in the world in GS. “I had a great weekend of first runs, and the second runs were both not quite to the calibre I wanted, but still, to get two top 20s I am very happy.”
Vancouver’s Riley Seger, who joined his teammates in Europe recently after a training block with the speed group in Canada, is scheduled to travel to Zinal, Switzerland to join Kyle Alexander of North Vancouver, B.C., and Vancouver’s Sam Mulligan at the European Cup.
Odermatt fulfilled his potential Monday by becoming first Swiss skier to win a men’s World Cup giant slalom in nearly 10 years.
Ever since winning GS world titles as a junior in 2016 and 2018, Odermatt was the ski-mad nation’s main hope to end its drought in the discipline. After five podium finishes, including in both previous races this season, Odermatt finally delivered in the Italian Alps.
Holding onto a first-run lead, he beat American racer Tommy Ford by 0.73 seconds.
“It’s really emotional for me today. I never had this before,” Odermatt said, pointing at tears in eyes. “It was big pressure today: First time red bib, first time leading after first run. Now I am really proud.”
WATCH | Matt Odermatt 1st GS winner from Switzerland since 2011:
Drought didn’t create additional pressure
Filip Zubcic, who won Saturday’s race in dense snowfall, was 1.25 seconds off the lead and outside the top 20 after the opening run but the Croatian skier posted the fastest time in the second run to place third, 0.75 behind.
Odermatt became the first GS winner from Switzerland since Carlo Janka, who was the reigning overall champion when he won in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, in March 2011.
“Such statistics leave me pretty cold, they don’t give me additional pressure,” Odermatt said. “I only put myself under pressure.”
Since Janka’s triumph, the Swiss team went without a podium result in the discipline for seven seasons, before Odermatt, Loic Meillard, Gino Caviezel and Thomas Tumler all scored top-three results since the 2018-19 season.
Lead widened in discipline standings
“We stayed cool, went step-by-step and kept working hard. We didn’t turn everything upside-down,” Odermatt said about the rebuilding of the Swiss GS team in recent years.
Odermatt’s second career win came one year and a day after he triumphed in a super-G in Beaver Creek, Colo.
Odermatt extended his lead in the discipline standings and joined Alexis Pinturault at the top of the overall standings.
Pinturault was 0.82 behind in fifth, just behind Meillard in fourth.
The event was moved from Val d’Isere because of lack of snow, though the French resort is set to host a downhill and super-G next weekend, the first speed races of the season.