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Swiss star Marco Odermatt claims ninth straight APCup giant slalom victory

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BANSKO, Bulgaria (鶹ýapp) — Swiss star Marco Odermatt dominated a men’s APCup giant slalom on Saturday to claim his ninth straight win in the discipline.

Odermatt wasn’t clean on the icy steep middle part of the Banderitza course in either run. But he gained time on his competitors in all other sections as he extended his lead from the first leg to finish 0.91 seconds ahead of runner-up Alexander Steen Olsen of Norway.

Austrian skier Manuel Feller was 1.08 behind in third as the top three kept their positions from the first run.

“For sure, the confidence is on the highest level and everything is working well. The skiing is perfect and I just have fun skiing,” said Odermatt, who has 20 wins from 60 career starts in the discipline.

Odermatt, who is the Olympic and world GS champion, has won 10 APCup races in total this season, including all six giant slaloms.

The two-time overall champion becomes the first male skier since Hermann Maier more than two decades ago to win 10 APCup races in consecutive seasons.

Odermatt is rapidly closing in on his third big crystal globe, after raising his season’s total to 1,506 points and extending his lead in the overall standings to 822 points over second-placed Cyprien Sarrazin. The French skier does not compete in the technical events.

Saturday’s victory left Odermatt five wins short of the record for the most GS wins in a row, set by Swedish great Ingemar Stenmark, who won 14 straight in the late 1970s.

Odermatt had not triumphed in Bansko before. In 2021, the last time the men’s APCup visited Bulgaria, he finished fifth and second, respectively, in two giant slaloms.

“I really like to be here. It’s a good crowd, it’s different to all the other races. Great hill, great conditions, fun slope to ski,” he said.

“The first run was very turny and difficult for tactics, and the second one was really about to push,” said Odermatt, who led Steen Olsen by 0.35 after the opening run.

A slalom on the same hill is scheduled for Sunday.

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