Austrian Strolz nets debut World Cup win in slalom upset

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Strolz celebrating his landmark win (AFP/Sebastien Bozon) (Sebastien Bozon)
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  • Hubert Strolz
    Alpine skier
  • Manuel Feller
    Austrian alpine skier

Austrian Johannes Strolz emerged the surprise winner of Sunday's slalom in Abelboden for the 29-year-old's breakthrough success on the World Cup circuit.

Placed seventh, at only 0.17sec adrift, after the first run, Strolz came through the pack in snowy conditions to deny his compatriot Manuel Feller.

Feller, matching his second in the giant 24 hours earlier, had shared the lead after the first run with another Austrian, Fabio Gstrein, who failed to finish.

Germany's Linus Strasser completed the podium.

"It's so tight, when you see how many skiers are close. Today I was lucky," rejoiced Strolz, who had never done better than 10th in the Madonna di Campiglio slalom in 2020.

The son of former Olympic combined champion Hubert Strolz was able to resist better placed skiers who were hampered by poor visibility and the layer of fresh snow on the track in the second run.

Less then a second had split the top 24 skiers after the first leg on the Chuenisbargli slope.

The technically demanding course had caught out the two leaders of the season's slalom standings, Norwegian Sebastian Foss-Solevaag and Swede Kristoffer Jakobsen.

The Austrians made their numbers speak, after placing five skiers in the top 10 of the first run, they occupied the first two steps of the podium.

Defending overall champion Alexis Pinturault was well placed in fifth but the Frenchman came unstuck in the afternoon.

"Obviously it's a disappointment," said Pinturault.

"There's always an Austrian hiding another. At times one that we're not anticipating can manage to achieve a very good result and carry the team."

Swiss skier Marco Odermatt, who won Saturday's giant slalom but is skipping the slaloms, leads the overall standings by 376 points from Norwegian Aleksander Aamodt Kilde.

Another failing to finish was Clement Noel, winner of the season-opening race at Val d'Isere.

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