Norway’s Aleksander Aamodt Kilde claimed victory in the classic World Cup downhill from Kitzbuehel on Friday, beating French veteran Johan Clarey by 0.42 seconds.
A great day for the French team ended when Blaise Giezendanner, 43rd, produced a spectacular run to push the Austrian Matthias Mayer to third place.
Overall World Cup leader Marco Odermatt of Switzerland finished fifth in what is the showpiece event of the ski season.
Kilde’s victory, in 1:55.92 over a shortened course, was the 20-year-old’s sixth of the World Cup season and he will have a chance for another in the second race scheduled for Sunday – the final run before the Beijing Winter Games next month.
“I had such a good run, an amazing feeling, standing here now just over a year after knee surgery, pretty amazing. Today was one of the days I had a very good feeling,” Kilde said.
The Norwegian takes the lead in the downhill World Cup standings, ahead of the Italian Dominik Paris.
Second place was an exceptional result for the 41-year-old Clarey, his ninth career World Cup podium, 12 years after his first.
The Frenchman has never won a World Cup race, but this was his fourth podium at Kitzbuehel.
Austria was left without a podium at its biggest event, although the late Christian Walder was in contention for a top three finish but crashed towards the end of his race.
Marcel Hirscher, a gold medalist in giant slalom and combined at the 2018 Olympics and now retired, fulfilled his dream of taking on the Hahnenkamm, skiing as a precursor to Friday’s race.
(Reporting by Simon Evans; Editing by Mark Heinrich and Toby Davis)