Odermatt puts pressure on in Val d'Isere

Marco Odermatt is on a role at the moment. A win in Sölden, a win in Beaver Creak and now he leads in Val d'Isere on a hill only Austrians or French have won on in the last ten years. Alexis Pinturault and Filip Zubcic are the others on the top three with Mathieu Faivre and Luca di Aliprandini rounding out the top five.

The Face de Boulevard is a tough slope and with the heavy snow and wintery storm conditions blowing through added to the mix, this was a brutal race for all. The hard snow conditions added to the mix of flat light and this was big boys racing.

Odermatt and Pinturault have very contrasting techniques and neither are huge hulks of a racer. Odermatt employs a lighter technique on his skis while Pinturault is stronger on his skis. At the moment Odermnatt has the better of things but with a second run still to come, the race is still open. Three tenths of a second is the gap with Zubcic just 0.01 behind Pinturault, there is all to race for between the top racers.

Zubcic had the advantage this run of having his couch setting the course and he made good use of it. With the top six starters all finishing in the top seven on the first run, only Loic Meillard, who started seven, failed top make good advantage of his early start. Meillard is in 16th.

The tough conditions saw an unusually high number of skis lose the connection with the boot as the racers bounced around. The need of racers to be firm yet supple through their knees to maintain contact with the snow was evident. The first racer to crash our was bib number 29, Cyprian Sarrazin, demonstrated how the course got rougher as more racers came down.

Only five racers from outside the top 30 starters made it into the top thirty and thus qualifying for the second run with Thomas Tumler from bib 49, the last racer to make it in.

For Charlie Raposo it was a really tough day. Starting 59 he knew it was going to be a tough call but just as he was about to move up to the gate, the race was put on hold as Adrian Pertl, whop went two in front of him had crashed badly and needed to be moved off the racing line. A prolonged wait ensued.

When Raposo got on the course he made a few mistakes at the top and from there it was a tough ask to make up the time to be within 3.25 seconds. The longer the course went o, the better Raposo got but it was not to be. He will be back. Raposo finished 17th and 19th in the two Europa Cup races last week scoring 24 FIS points in both. Currently racing at 22 points, Raposo needs to lower the FIS points to give himself more of a chance to make the second run in a World Cup race.

If the weather stays constant, the second run will be epic!

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