Morning Chronicle - Odermatt in pole position for Olympic giant slalom

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Odermatt in pole position for Olympic giant slalom
Odermatt in pole position for Olympic giant slalom

Odermatt in pole position for Olympic giant slalom

Swiss favourite Marco Odermatt looked to be reversing his fortunes after a disappointing start to his Olympic campaign as he topped the timings in the first leg of the men's giant slalom on Sunday.

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Odermatt, who has won four of five World Cup giant slalom races this season -- finishing second in the only race he did not win -- clocked 1min 2.93sec down the Ice River course in Yanqing in heavy snow and low visibility.

The 24-year-old Swiss racer came into the Beijing Games as current World Cup overall leader and one of the big favourites.

But he has disappointed on the artificial snow in China, having finished seventh in the downhill and skiing out of the super-G, a race in which he was one of the top challengers.

Austrian Stefan Brennsteiner sat in second, at just four-hundredths of a second behind, with reigning world champion Mathieu Faivre of France in third (+0.08sec).

Norway's Henrik Kristoffersen, silver medallist at the 2018 Pyeongchang Games, was fourth, with other favourites all within striking distance in tricky conditions.

Two-time bronze medallist Alexis Pinturault admitted to "having taken all the painkillers possible" pre-race to deaden the pain in his shoulder after his tumble in the alpine combined.

The French racer was 1.06sec off Odermatt's pace, but there was no such luck for the Swiss pair of Loic Meillard and Justin Murisier, just two from a long list who failed to safely negotiate the course.

The second leg of the giant slalom is scheduled for 13:45 pm (0545 GMT).