Faivre holds on for convincing win in Bansko GS 2

Mathieu Faivre made it back to the top step of the World Cup just over four years after winning in Val d'Isere as he won the second of two Giant Slalom races in Bansko, Bulgaria. Having lead from the first run, Faivre was justifiably very proud to have taken the win ahead of Marco Odermatt and Alexis Pinturault with Thibaut Favrot and Stefan Brennsteiner rounding out the top five finishers.

From a twisty first run to a slightly straighter second run, the desire and determination of all the racers to not just get down but get down fast was evident, Odermatt was not happy with the gap he had after the first run behind Faivre but Odermatt was one of a select few to really nail the second run as he went about continuing his run of top five places in all the World Cup Giant Slalom races this season.

Daniele Sette, from 23rd after the first run really set the run alight in setting what would be the fastest run on the second run. The 28 Year old Swiss racer moved up to 11th with his stunning second run as he made himself comfortable in the leaders enclosure.

Coming to Bansko, Stefan Brennsteiner had won and podium in two Europa Cup Giant Slalom races prior to the World Championships but had crashed out on the second un in Cortina d'Ampezzo. If he had been told that time was running out on his Austrian ski racing career then Brennsteiner leaves Bansko with a third and fifth in the two races and now sits in 14th in the season long standings and should, bar a strange set of results in Kranjska Gora, be heading to Lenzerheide for the World Cup Finals as the leading Austrian in the standings.

Brennsteiner scored some fastest sections on the second run to lift himself from tenth and into fifth. Not always easy on the eye, but the Austrian fought like his career depended on his results and was rewarded with another good result.

It took until Odermatt came down for Brennsteiner to be removed from the leaders seat. Odermatt is a super determined racer and his proud record this season has seen him in the top five at each round. From being in sixth after the first run, Odermatt gave it his all as he looked to overhaul Pinturault in the chase for both the GS Globe and the Overall.

The Swiss racer took the lead and then saw Thibaut Favrot, one of three French racers in the top five after the first run, drop slightly off the pace and Zan Kranjec also lose touch with the leaders. When Alexis Pinturault dropped six hundredths behind him, the gap he knew would be closer at the days end than it had been earlier but could he hold on for the win?

Regarding the win, the answer in simple terms was no. Faivre was just in a class of his own in the this race. Fastest on both days one the first run, Faivre was not going to let a second World Cup win drift out of his hands and he held his nerve and crossed the line 0.75 ahead of the Swiss rising star.

Odermatt has pulled twenty points back on Pinturault in both the race for the GS Globe and the Overall. While Filip Zubcic managed to recover a few places from his 20th after the first run to move back up to 14th, Odermatt is now just 25 points off the lead with Zubcic 64 points off Pinturault. Loic Meillard and Faivre, despite a win and second this weekend, are both now out of contention for the Globe with two races remaining.

Pinturault now holds a 210 point lead over Odermatt in the race for the Overall with Marco Schwarz in third 316 points back. It is getting exciting as the season draws to a close!

But what about the likes of Henrik Kristoffersen? So often one of the leading racers in both GS and Slalom, this season it has just not clicked for the Norwegian in GS. He has a best of fifth in the first race and afterwards Kristoffersen explained via his Twitter account "This weekend really just confirms that the Giant Slalom isn’t where it’s supposed to be. Showed some promising progress in the first run yesterday, but a big mistake in the second run ruined the opportunity. Today was just not good enough, too slow in the middle section.

Charlie Raposo explained on his Instagram post "Rugged weekend in Bansko, but sometimes a tough weekend is the kick in the ass you need to make some changes and get back on the right path. A busy month of February comes to an end and there’s certainly been a lot of good stuff, so now we bring that into the last few weeks of the season 👊🏼. Maybe a couple days rest first though."

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