French sweep giant slalom in St. Moritz
The French men dominated today’s Audi FIS World Cup Season Final giant slalom as Thomas Fanara paved the way for a French podium sweep. He edged teammate Alexis Pinturault by 0.02 seconds and Mathieu Faivre by 0.14 seconds.
It was the second French podium sweep of the season as they also finished 1-2-3 in the alpine combined in Kitzbühel, which was the first sweep for the nation in 46 years.
"It's just an amazing feeling to get my first career victory," said Fanara. "To share this with my teammates makes it that much more special for. I want to enjoy this moment with the entire French team. So many other racers came up and congratulated me and I could see in their eyes they were sincerely happy that I won today and that means a lot to me."
It was the best result for Fanara this season and his third podium of the year. For Pinturault, the win confirmed his second place finish in the giant slalom season standings with 690 points.
Marcel Hirscher (AUT) already had the discipline globe wrapped up entering today’s race and finished in fifth place in the race about a half second behind Fanara.
"It was not the easiest season for me to earn the giant slalom globe," said Hirscher. "The French team, especially Pinturault is getting better and better and it won't be easy in the future to beat them. It definitely wasn't easy this season already."
Pinturault had a late-season surge, earning four victories and three second-place finishes in the giant slalom since the races in Japan in mid-February. It was nearly enough for the Frenchman to catch Hirscher in the standings, but in the end Pinturault’s surge came a bit too late. Norway’s Henrik Kristoffersen (NOR), who will pick up the slalom globe tomorrow, ended in third place in the giant slalom standings.
The French sweep also makes the battle for the Nations Team Cup, awarded to the nation that earns the most overall World Cup points for men's, ladies' and combined, a very interesting one. Austria has had a stranglehold on the men's Cup, winning it every year since 1992, but with today's sweep, the French are within striking distance to steal the crown sitting only 85 points behind.
A full house and perfect weather greeted the racers for today’s race as they enjoyed another day of ideal conditions at the Season Finals in St. Moritz. Since Wednesday’s downhill race, there has not been a cloud in the sky in the Swiss resort.
Tomorrow, the men will race their final event of the 2015/16 season in the slalom. Following the race, Hirscher will officially be crowned the season champion and will pick up his amazing fifth consecutive crystal globe as the Overall Season winner.
Click here for race results.
Click here for giant slalom cup standings.
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