Pinturault strikes first individual gold after winning Åre combined

Courtesy of Red Bull Media Service Team

Frenchman Alexis Pinturault jumps up from 24th to first to win gold medal.

France’s Alexis Pinturault clinched his first individual gold medal in a major event when he dominated the combined at the FIS alpine skiing world championships in Åre on Monday.

Only 24th after the morning downhill run, the Frenchman delivered a near-perfect run in the afternoon slalom to become world champion ahead of Slovenia’s Stefan Hadalin and Austria’s Marco Schwarz. Here is all you need to know:

–  Pinturault won in a combined time of 1:47.71. Stefan Hadalin, who clocked the fastest time in the afternoon slalom, missed the title by 0.24. Marco Schwarz took the bronze, 0.46 adrift.

–  Pinturault already won a gold medal at the world championships, but at the team event of the 2017 edition in St Moritz.

–  The Frenchman was a combined silver-medallist at the PyeongChang Games last winter. He also won two crystal globes in the discipline, in 2016 and 2017.

–  The result is a great morale booster for Pinturault before the giant slalom and the slalom at the weekend. He already collected three bronze medals in the GS, two at the Olympics in Sochi and PyeongChang and one at the world championships in Beaver Creek in 2015.

–  It was the first world title by a Frenchman in the combined since Michel Vion in 1982.   

–  Dominik Paris, the Super-G world champion last week, was the fastest in the downhill first run, leading Pinturault by 1.52 at that stage. But the slalom leg, designed by Pinturault’s coach Fabien Mugnier, was too technical for speed specialists and Paris finished 9th, 1:51 behind Pinturault.

–  Because of the weather conditions, the downhill was held form the second reserve start while the slalom was also shorter than usual. Both were delayed because of snowfalls.

–  The world championships programme continues with the team event on Tuesday.

–  Pinturault told Eurosport: “I’m very happy. It was not easy because it was a long day with both runs being delayed and it takes a lot of energy away from you. But it was a happy ending. I have been very close many times in the past and it finally paid off. I think I skied a great slalom leg despite a small mistake near the bottom. But the rest was pretty good. I hurt my foot a bit in the downhill but it only hurts when I walk and not when I ski.”

Top 10 results:

1. Alexis Pinturault (France) 1:47.71
2. Stefan Hadalin (Slovenia) 0.24 behind
3. Marco Schwarz (Austria) 0.46
4. Riccardo Tonetti (Italy) 0.67
5. Linus Strasser (Germany) 0.80
6. Victor Muffat-Jeandet (France) 0.81
7. Mauro Caviezel (Switzerland) 0.86
8. Luca Aerni (Switzerland) 1.02
9. Dominik Paris (Italy) 1.51
10. Felix Monsen (Sweden) 1.63

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