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Marco Odermatt uses a second-run comeback for his 12th World Cup giant slalom win in a row

ASPEN, Colo. (AP) — Marco Odermatt recovered from a first run that left him trailing and a poor start in the second to pull out a victory and extend his World Cup giant slalom winning streak to 12 races, aided by a major mistake by the last skier down the hill Saturday.

Odermatt, the 26-year-old Swiss star who already has clinched both the overall and GS titles this season, moved two away from Ingemar Stemark’s World Cup record of 14 consecutive wins in one event, set more than 40 years ago.

Odermatt is the reigning Olympic gold medalist and world champion in the giant slalom and has gone 9-0 in that race this season, adding onto the three in a row he picked up to end last season. He finished the two legs Saturday along the Strawpile slope in Aspen in 2 minutes, 3.20 seconds, with winds reaching 25 mph (40 kph).

His combined time was 0.34 seconds better than Swiss teammate Loic Meillard — who also was the runner-up to Odermatt in Friday’s giant slalom — and 0.58 faster than Timon Haugan of Norway.

This triumph was the 13th across all events this season for Odermatt. That matched his output last season and equaled the men’s record for the most in a season, a mark he already shared with Stenmark, Hermann Maier and Marcel Hirscher.

Odermatt moved up after standing in third place following Saturday’s opening run, 0.22 seconds behind leader Alexander Steen Olsen of Norway.

After that initial trip down the mountain, Odermatt acknowledged that his winning streak has left him “for sure, feeling a little bit of pressure.”

“To win races, you really have to push and take the risk,” he said following that conservative-for-him run. “But if you won 11 races in a row, you can’t risk it all every time. You really have to ski smart. I skied probably too smart in the first round, so I really have to attack and take the risk in the second one.”

Did he ever — so much so that an early miscue cost him nearly a quarter of a second. But Odermatt charged the rest of the way down, making up time as he went. When he was done, he leaned against some signage in the finish area, exhaling and shaking his head.

Meillard, who was second-best in the first run, couldn’t match him. And then came the final competitor, Steen Olsen, who made an even bigger error than Odermatt had early on, sliding on his full left side and barely remaining on course, eventually arriving with a total time more than 2.5 seconds behind Odermatt and in 17th place.

Odermatt clinched his third straight overall title last weekend by winning a giant slalom at the Palisades Tahoe resort in California, then sealed the GS title on Friday. He is also leading the downhill and super-G World Cup standings.

The World Cup stop in Aspen concludes Sunday with a slalom.


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