WENGEN, Switzerland (AP)Henrik Kristoffersen raced through steady falling snow to win a World Cup slalom Sunday and give Norway a three-race weekend sweep.
For the third straight day, in three different disciplines, a Norwegian won with a home Swiss racer runner-up.
Kristoffersen finished 0.20 seconds ahead of first-run leader Loic Meillard who was denied giving Switzerland a first win for 36 years in its classic World Cup slalom.
Lucas Braathen was third, 0.49 behind his Norway teammate Kristoffersen, one week after he won the slalom at nearby Adelboden. Other racers were all at least one second further back.
Kristoffersen’s 30th career World Cup win lifted him back into the lead over Braathen in the season-long slalom standings. The gap is just 10 points, 320-310.
”Everything worked out great,” said Kristoffersen, who started immediately after Braathen and heard the public address down at the finish praising that race-leading run.
He completed the Norwegian sweep at Wengen just as he did in 2016, when Aksel Lund Svindal won the downhill and Kjetil Jansrud won the Alpine combined.
This time, the Norway triple was started by Aleksander Aamodt Kilde winning in super-G and downhill. The runners-up were, respectively, Stefan Rogentin and Marco Odermatt, who has a big lead in the overall World Cup standings. Odermatt does not start in slalom.
Norwegian men have now won eight of the nine World Cup slaloms since the Beijing Olympics last February. Only Switzerland’s Daniel Yule, who was 11th Sunday, interrupted the streak.
Falling snow that has been rare in Europe in a warm January slowed the course in the second run of a tricky race Sunday.
Kristoffersen’s second run was the standout performance among contenders for the win yet still was only the sixth-best time through a gate-setting designed by a Norway team coach.
The three fastest times in the afternoon were set more than a half-hour earlier by early starters who trailed by more than four seconds in the morning run.
Racers had earlier cited the tight and twisting first-run gate-setting on the steep hill by a British coach for the big time gaps. Only five racers were within 1.6 seconds of Meillard in the morning run and some were more than four seconds back despite placing in the top 20.
No Swiss racer has won the Wengen slalom since Joel Gaspoz in 1987.
The 26-year-old Meillard is still searching for a first World Cup slalom win despite four career podium places in the discipline and 21 top-10 finishes.
”The skiing is there. It’s just a question of time,” he said. ”A few mistakes have cost too much and that makes the difference with Henrik.”
The World Cup circuit now moves to the classic Austrian venue Kitzbuhel for two downhills and a slalom.
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