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Home favourite Odermatt takes 4th giant slalom in 5 men’s races since October

Marco Odermatt carried his remarkable streak in giant slalom to another World Cup win Saturday in his home nation’s classic race staged in unseasonably warm weather.

Odermatt, the Olympic champion, protected his first-run lead in fading light and even extended it with the fastest second-leg time of 1:13.99 to finish in two minutes 30.68 seconds, 0.73 ahead of Henrik Kristoffersen in Adelboden, Switzerland.

Kristoffersen bowed in a show of respect when greeting Odermatt in the finish area and gave him a thumbs-up sign. Odermatt’s teammate Loic Meillard was 1.66 back in third (2:32.34).

Calgary’s Erik Read was 15th of 27 finishers in 2:34.63, 3.95 seconds behind Odermatt, while Toronto’s Trevor Philp placed 17th (2:35.02).

A fourth win in five World Cup giant slaloms since October for the 25-year-old Odermatt was also his 14th straight podium finish in his standout discipline through the past two seasons. That run includes his gold medal at the Beijing Olympics last February.

Odermatt’s 17th career win in World Cup races was his 11th in giant slalom. It extended the defending champion’s big lead in the overall World Cup standings.

The home favourite was roared to the finish line by a sold-out crowd of more than 20,000, mostly gathered around the steep final slope of the storied Chuenisbärgli course.

Warm and snow-free winter weather for several weeks in central Europe created conditions that Swiss broadcaster RTS described as “almost a miracle” organizers could stage a race.

Racers skied down a white ribbon of soft, sun-bathed artificial snow lined by lush green fields that are cow pastures in the summer.

The temperature was just above freezing for the first run Saturday morning and rose to about 7 C when the second leg started at 1:30 p.m. local time.

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