Noel roars to dramatic World Cup victory on home snow in Chamonix
Clement Noel soared to victory on home snow as top contenders dropped like flies at the Alpine Skiing World Cup in Chamonix, France.
Moments after Alexis Pinturault – the most successful French skier in World Cup history – slipped out of his second run, Noel sent home fans wild with a third win and sixth podium of the season.
The 22-year-old crashed out of the World Cup so close to home in Val D'Isere in December but clocked 53.42 in a risky second run to come out on top.
Noel said: "The second run was really challenging.
"The first run was perfect conditions, so I am really happy to manage the second. I felt the pressure so much at the start, but to win it was awesome.
" I don't know why I'm so consistent, I just try to push hard and do my best every time. It paid off this time so I'm really, really happy."
Noel's combined 1:41.47 was 0.21 ahead of Norway's Timon Haugan, toasting a first World Cup podium of his career, with Austria's Adrian Pertl 0.31 back in third.
Frontrunners struggled as overall World Cup leader Henrik Kristoffersen came out of his first run and Swiss Daniel Yule, who laid down the fastest first run, also failed to finish in a dramatic climax.
With only three slalom World Cups remaining this season, Chamonix's return to the circuit after a four-year hiatus produced a seismic day in the race to wear red.
Noel climbed to second place in the slalom standings, taking his tally to 550 points and hot on the heels of Kristoffersen with 552.
Pinturault, the last Frenchman to win in Chamonix and victorious in Val D'Isere, failed to cut Kristoffersen's 55-point lead in the overall standings.