Swiss Gino Caviezel led the giant slalom in Austrian Sölden after the first half, ten hundredths ahead of Henrik Kristoffersen (26).
Kristoffersen has for a number of years been Norway’s best card in both slalom and giant slalom, but had to see himself toppled from the throne by young Lucas Braathen (20).
– A victory was too much to ask, but I knew I was capable of ending up on the podium. I have become better technically and am stronger than before, says Braathen in the interview with the International Ski Federation (FIS) after the race.
Braathen ran a strong race after fifth place in the first round. With that, the last minutes became a pure thriller.
But neither Kristoffersen nor Swiss Gino Caveziel managed to discipline the young Norwegian, who took his first World Cup victory, 0.05 seconds down to Marco Odermatt and 0.46 down to the aforementioned Caviezel.
Lucas Pinheiro Braathen
Age: 20 years (born April 19, 2000)
Club: Bærum Ski Club
World Cup debut: December 8, 2018 in giant slalom in Val d’Isère.
World Cup: 1 victory (giant slalom)
Won his first World Cup victory on Sunday during the season opener in giant slalom in Sölden. (NTB)
– Raw performance
– It is an incredibly raw achievement. He delivers, has taken the step further from the breakthrough season, it is incredibly strong, says Tom Stiansen to Dagbladet.
The former top alpinist and 71 degrees North presenter does not know Braathen personally, but has heard a lot about the young boy:
– He is very fearless, and has a lot of threat to himself. You get far with it. When you are also as good at skiing as he is … he makes a big mistake before the flat, which he probably loses one second on, and he recovers. It is raw, says Stiansen.
Leif Kristian Nestvold-Haugen drove a very strong second lap. He started eighth last, and placed 17 hundredths ahead of Thibaut Favrot, who at that time led.
After him came, however, Swiss Marco Odermatt – who took first place with a full second on Haugen. The Norwegian veteran ended up in eighth place.
Last year’s World Cup winner Aleksander Aamodt Kilde drove out in the first round. Fabian Solheim did the same in others.
Braathen’s victory was Norway’s first in Sölden since Aksel Lund Svindal won there in 2007.
– I have put pressure on myself. The media and the audience have lower expectations than I have. But I thrive on the pressure, Braathen told Dagbladet earlier this week.
– I do not take races so solemnly. I see it as another training round. If I drive out, it’s not the end of the world. The goal this year will be to establish oneself in these top positions. I should clear the podium on several occasions last year. This year it’s time, says Braathen.
Like I said, so done.