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  • Writer's pictureRaúl Revuelta

Sölden 2022 Men‘s Alpine Ski Giant Slalom Preview

Updated: Mar 9

Sölden 2021 Men's Podium. Picture: Ötztal Tourismus. Erich Spiess

Since the 2000-2001 season, Sölden in Tirol has been the venue for the opening races of the Alpine Ski World Cup.

Last season 71 skiers from all over the world were in Sölden for one of the sports’ most exciting events for ski fans.

The favorites to win the 2022 Giant Slalom on the Rettenbach glacier will be Alexis Pinturault, Henrik Kristoffersen, Lucas Braathen, Manuel Feller, Žan Kranjec, Mathieu Faivre, and defending champion Marco Odermatt.

Marco Odermatt kicked off his 2021-2022 winter season in the best possible way, taking the Men’s Giant Slalom in Sölden, Austria, and showing that he was the man to beat in the Alpine Ski World Cup.

Roland Leitinger led after the first run and managed the pressure in the second run to take his first World Cup podium in Giant Slalom. Leitinger's best World Cup, and only podium, was third place in the Parallel Giant Slalom in Alta Badia in December 2019.

His greatest triumph was winning the silver medal in St. Moritz Alpine World Ski Championships 2017.

Slovenia’s Zan Kranjec rounded out the contested podium in the third position.

Marco Odermatt is the 2021-2022 Men's Overall World Cup Winner. After finishing runner-up last season, he finally can celebrate his very first big globe. He is the fifth Swiss man to win the Overall, after Peter Lüscher (1978-1979), Pirmin Zurbriggen (1983-1984, 1986-1987, 1987-1988, and 1989-1990), Paul Accola (1991-1992), and Carlo Janka (2009-2010).

Marco Odermatt won the Giant Slalom crystal globe in Kranjska Gora last season. He is the first Swiss man to do so since Didier Cuche (2008-2009).

Odermatt finished the Giant Slalom World Cup season the same way he started it, winning.

Marco Odermatt was the absolute dominator of the discipline. He finished on the podium in all eight World Cup Giant Slalom events this season: 5 wins (Sölden, Val d'Isère, Alta Badia, Adelboden and Meribel-Courchevel), 2 second places (Alta Badia and Kranjska Gora) and 1 third place (Kranjska Gora).

The last skier to claim a podium finish in all World Cup Giant Slalom events contested in a single season was Marcel Hirscher in the 2017-2018 season (7 races, 7 podiums, 6 wins).

The 25-year-old Swiss ace ended the Giant Slalom with a lead of 267 points over the Norwegian Henrik Kristoffersen. Manuel Feller finished third, 394 points behind.

To round a perfect season the Swiss also won Olympic gold in this discipline in Beijing 2022.

Since his first podium in Kranjska Gora in 2019 Odermatt has claimed 7 victories and a total of 17 podiums in Giant Slalom in the World Cup.

Marco Odermatt's trajectory at Sölden reflects an incredible progression. In his first race in 2017 he finished in 17th position. A year later he finished in thirteenth place. In 2019 he was on the podium for the first time after finishing in second place. And finally last season Marco Odermatt won the World Cup Opening Giant Slalom in Sölden. The last man to win the Opening Giant Slalom event in successive World Cup seasons was Ted Ligety, who achieved this in four consecutive seasons from 2010-2011 to 2013-2014 (1 in Beaver Creek, 3 in Sölden).

Last season Alexis Pinturault was unable to claim a single World Cup victory. The Frenchman picked up at least one World Cup win in each of the previous 10 seasons.

In 2021 Alexis Pinturault won the Overall and Giant Slalom Crystal Globes. To achieve his first title in the discipline, Alexis Pinturault finished in the top-five in each of the ten Giant Slalom events of the 2020-2021 season. He claimed three successive wins in Alta Badia and Adelboden (2).

He claims four Giant Slalom wins in a World Cup season for the second time, after 2015-2016.

Pinturault has won 18 World Cup Giant Slalom events, ranking him in fifth place on the all-time men's list. 39 of his 74 podiums in the World Cup were in this discipline. His 18 victories in this discipline are at least 11 more than any other active male skier (7 by both Henrik Kristoffersen and Odermatt).

He won the bronze medal in Giant Slalom in Sochi 2014 and Pyeongchang 2018.

The French Ace won the bronze medal in Giant Slalom in the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships held in Vail / Beaver Creek in 2015 and Åre in 2019.

His performance in the Rettenbach glacier was incredible. He was in the podium five times in Sölden (2 - 2- 1) (2016 and 2019 - 2011 and 2013 - 2014) and finished 5th in 2015, 4th in 2020, and 5th again last season.

Henrik Kristoffersen (3) was the only other man apart from Marco Odermatt (4) to win a World Cup Giant Slalom event last season. The Norwegian won in Alta Badia on 19 December and both races in Kranjska Gora. It was Kristoffersen's 7th World Cup victory in Giant slalom and his 24th podium in the discipline.

In only three previous World Cup seasons the Giant Slalom victories were divided by at most two men: Jean-Claude Killy (4) and Georges Mauduit (1) in 1966-1967, Ingemar Stenmark (all 10) in 1978-1979, and Marcel Hirscher (6) and Alexis Pinturault (1) in 2017-2018.

Kristoffersen has equaled the Norwegian record for most World Cup Giant Slalom wins in a single season: three by Kjetil André Aamodt in 1992-1993.

He finished in third position in the 2021-2022 overall standings.

In 2020 Henrik Kristoffersen of Norway was six points ahead of Alexis Pinturault of France when the final two Giant Slaloms of the season, including the finale scheduled for Cortina d'Ampezzo, were cancelled by the COVID-19 pandemic. The cancellations gave the season title in Giant Slalom (as well as the title in Slalom over Clément Noël by two points) to Kristoffersen.

In 2018 Kristoffersen won the silver medal in Giant Slalom at Pyeongchang 2018.

The 28-year-old Norwegian won the gold medal in Giant Slalom in the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships held in Åre.

Kristoffersen has raced seven times in Sölden and his best results were a 5th place in 2020, sixth in 2015, and 8th in 2016.

In 2020, 22-year-old Norwegian sensation Lucas Braathen stole the show in the opening race of the 2020-2021 Audi FIS World Cup in Sölden when he edged out Swiss Marco Odermatt (SUI) by 0.06 seconds to claim his first victory and podium at the World Cup. At just 20 years old, he was also the youngest ever winner at Sölden.

Last season he returned to the Giant Slalom World Cup podium with two second places in Kranjska Gora and in the Finals in Courchevel Meribel.

In his first race in Sölden back in 2019 he finished sixth, and last season he was 7th. Lucas Braathen was the second Norwegian skier to have won the Sölden Giant Slalom after Aksel Lund Svindal won in the 2007-2008 season.

Manuel Feller finished on the podium in three Giant Slalom events last World Cup season (3rd place in Val d'Isère and Alta Badia, and 2nd place in Adelboden). Austrian men have not won a World Cup Giant Slalom event since Marcel Hirscher in Adelboden on 12 January 2019. The last Austrian other than Hirscher to win a men's Giant Slalom in the World Cup was Philipp Schörghofer in Hinterstoder on 6 February 2011.

In his first four participations in Sölden Manuel Feller failed to qualify for the second run. In 2019 he finished in the 12th position. Last season he was ended in the 15th place.

Žan Kranjec (silver) and Mathieu Faivre (bronze) finished on the podium in the Giant Slalom at the Olympic Winter Games in Beijing. Kranjec became the second man representing Slovenia to win an Olympic medal in alpine skiing, after Jure Kosir (bronze in the slalom in 1994). Kranjec recorded two World Cup victories, in the Giant Slalom in Saalbach Hinterglemm (2018) and in Adelboden (2020).

Kranjec was twice on the podium in Sölden, third in 2019, same place than last season. In 2016 he finished in 4th position, and was 7th in 2020.

In 2019 Faivre finished in second place in Sölden, his best result in the Rettenbach glacier. Until then his best position was a 9th place achieved in three occasions, 2013, 2015, and 2016.


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