Marco Odermatt made more Alpine Ski World Cup memories in Solden as he returned to his happy hunting ground to a win a giant slalom thriller and get his season off to a flyer.
Odermatt, 24, beat home favourite Roland Leitinger by a margin of just 0.07s in the Austrian mountains to rack up an early haul of 100 points in the first event of the campaign.
Slovenian Zan Kranjec was third but it was Odermatt who stole the show as he won the third giant slalom event of his career and became just the fourth man from Switzerland to triumph in the format.
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Odermatt, who made his World Cup debut in 2016 and beat a 71-strong field in the 2021 campaign curtain-raiser, said: "Solden is always special for me.
“Five years ago I scored my first World Cup points here. To start the season with a victory - 70 guys dreamed about that today.
"It's amazing - it was a long and hard summer and we trained so hard."
Odermatt, a four-time World Cup event winner coming into the contest, trailed Leitinger by 0.21s at the halfway point after a searing first run from the Austrian.
Leitinger stopped the clock in a speedy 1:03.93 to throw down the gauntlet to his rivals and leave Odermatt and Kranjec - 0.27s behind - with work to do.
But Odermatt came racing out of the traps on his second run to clock an imperious 1:01.80, the fastest of the day, to leapfrog Leitinger and scoop the first event of the season.
Kranjec's second run of 1:01.84 saw him claim the final spot on the podium, while Gino Caviezel was fourth - 0.29s behind the Slovenian overall - and reigning overall World Cup champion Alexis Pinturault finished fifth.
Odermatt leads both the overall and giant slalom standings by 20 points ahead of Leitinger, with the field next taking to the mountains in Zurs - also in Austria - next month.
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