KITZBUEHEL, Austria (AP) — Daniel Yule ended a 52-year wait for a Swiss slalom victory at Austria’s most prestigious ski racing event on Sunday.
Yule won the concluding competition of the traditional Hahnenkamm races, becoming the first Swiss slalom winner here since two-time Olympian Dumeng Giovanoli triumphed in 1968.
“That was a long time before I was even born,” Yule said. “It’s a pleasure when such records finally change.”
Yule posted the fourth-fastest time in the final leg to overtake surprise first-run leader Lucas Braathen of Norway, who dropped to fourth, and earn his third win of 2020.
Austria’s Marco Schwarz finished 0.12 second behind in second, while Clement Noel was a quarter of a second further back in third, a week after the Frenchman won at another classic venue, Wengen.
“To win in Kitzbuehel is fantastic. As a kid you watched Kitzbuehel and you saw it’s a myth,” said Yule, who also won in Madonna di Campaglio and Adelboden in recent weeks.
With four career slalom wins, Yule is the most successful Swiss skier of all time in the discipline.
“That’s not the most important thing,” he said. “If you finish in Adelboden as the winner, if you win in Kitzbuehel, those emotions are what counts.”
Yule closed the gap to slalom World Cup leader Henrik Kristoffersen to just 17 points.
Kristoffersen, who shared fourth place with his Norwegian teammate, also tops the overall standings but said he doesn’t look at them yet.
“The overall lead has no meaning at this point in the season,” Kristoffersen said. “When I am not on the podium on race day, I cannot be 100 percent satisfied.”
Wearing start bib No. 34, Braathen had mastered a difficult course set in the opening run to build a lead of 0.33 seconds over Yule.
The 19-year-old Norwegian attacked again in his final run but lost time due to two mistakes in the middle section.
In only his second season on the World Cup, the 19-year-old Braathen has racked up five top-10 results.
“I can’t believe it, I don’t have words,” Braathen said. “I thought about the podium after the first run but I am super happy. I felt the nerves a bit more today but I skied really good, technically.”
The Norwegian was not the only lower-ranked skier to draw attention as Austria’s Adrian Pertl, who wore bib No. 73 and had not scored World Cup points before, posted the fastest second-run time and finished in eighth.
It was only the first time in five World Cup starts that Pertl had qualified for a second run.
Widely regarded a main contender for the overall title, Alexis Pinturault lost further ground on Kristoffersen.
The Frenchman was fifth after the opening run before straddling a gate in the second and failing to score World Cup points.
Pinturault also didn’t finish his second run at the slalom in Wengen last week.
The next men’s World Cup race is a night slalom in Schladming on Tuesday.
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