CHAMONIX, France (AP) — Clement Noel pleased his home crowd by winning his third men’s World Cup slalom of the season Saturday after first-run leader Daniel Yule of Switzerland skied out early in his final run.
The Frenchman was 0.21 seconds faster than Norway’s Timon Haugan and 0.31 ahead of Austria’s Adrian Pertl, who both had their first career podium result.
“That was a special moment when I crossed the finish line with the green light and I saw all these people cheering for me,” Noel said after the first World Cup slalom in the French resort in 15 years.
“That’s for sure one of my most important memories of a victory,” he added.
Many of the race favorites failed to finish, as World Cup leader Henrik Kristoffersen skied out in the opening run and Yule, Alexis Pinturault and Stefano Gross were among the nine racers who failed to finish the final leg.
“It looked quite easy but the course setters set difficult runs,” Noel said.
Even though Kristoffersen scored no points, the Norwegian remained in the lead of both the overall and the discipline standings, but Noel closed the gap in the slalom rankings to just two points.
Noel earlier won in Zagreb and Wengen this season to raise his career tally to six victories.
“I don’t really count the points but I am pretty sure I am second just behind Henrik,” Noel said. “I don’t really care now. I only want to focus on the next race. My season is good so far.”
Kristoffersen maintained his 55-point lead over Pinturault in the overall World Cup.
Yule had posted the fastest time in the opening run, leading Noel by 0.24 seconds and Italian veteran Gross by 0.47.
Kristoffersen was a few tenths off the lead when he straddled a gate toward the end of his run. It was the first time since a night race in Schladming in January 2019 that the Norwegian failed to finish a slalom.
Noel posted the eighth-fastest time in the final run to lead the race with only Yule to start.
Having won three of the previous five slaloms, Yule straddled a gate only a few seconds into his run and failed to become the first Swiss skier to win four races in a single World Cup season since both Didier Cuche and Beat Feuz achieved the feat eight years ago.
A parallel giant slalom is scheduled for Sunday.
More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports