France’s Mathieu Faivre won his second gold medal of the 2021 Alpine Skiing World Championships as he took the title in the Giant Slalom.
Faivre put down a brilliant second run but still was aiming for bronze or silver with first run leader, and close friend, Alexis Pinturault the last out of the gates.
But Pinturault lost his inside ski and span out, handing the gold medal to an emotional Faivre.
Mathieu Faivre takes surprise gold in Giant Slalom
The Frenchman was in tears in the finish area and seemed almost reluctant to celebrate as he kept turning around to the piste to check on his friend.
“It feels unreal right now, I can’t believe it.” Faivre said in the finish area.
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“The second run was so tough, not bad but I did some mistakes and I didn’t know what to expect at the end.
'It feels unreal right now' - Mathieu Faivre on gold medal
“I’m a bit kind of sad for Alexis of course, it would have been amazing to both be on the podium but right now I’m a gold medallist in Giant and it’s just incredible.”
Italy’s Luca De Aliprandini, like Nina O’Brien yesterday, found himself the second-last skier to go ahead of a champion whilst still searching for his career podium. A second remarkable story in a row.
Like O’Brien, De Aliprandini found it tough going on the second run but the 32-year-old dug deep and emotionally celebrated a World Championship medal at the finish line.
Austria’s Marco Schwarz completed the podium with as Croatia’s Filip Zubcic had to settle for fourth.
Earlier in the day on a course set by his coaches Pinturault dominated the opening run, clocking a time of 1:17.55.
Alexis Pinturault puts in storming first run in Giant Slalom
The Frenchman’s speed was so great that De Aliprandini was the only skier who could get to within half a second of him, just three less than a second and just seven less than two.
As has been the case for most of the week the tracks at Italy have caused plenty of problems for skiers and there were plenty of DNFs in the second run including a bad one for Thibaut Favrot who found himself entangled in the side netting.
The story of the day will be Pinturault failing to capitalise on a chance for his first world slalom gold. And 32-year-old De Aliprandini giving the home fans in Cortina a show they won’t forget in a hurry.