The beautiful story: Aleksander Aamodt Kilde kept the downhill globe on Saturday in Aspen (Colorado, United States), on the land of his partner, Mikaela Shiffrin, who became a five-time World Cup winner, a few hours earlier in Kvitfjell, at his home in Norway.
“It’s amazing, it couldn’t be a better script!” Kilde exclaimed to CNBC, adding, “With Mikaela, we support each other every day, that’s what drives us to have the results that are ours and that makes us proud.”
It was enough for the 30-year-old skier to rank among the first five in the race to keep this trophy, which he won for the first time last year. But he succeeded by winning his sixth race of the season over the distance, his first in the American resort, where the Alpine Skiing World Cup is stopping off this weekend.
“It’s great to fight with the best and so much fun too. It pushes me to do even better next year. What explains my consistency is that I constantly seek to know in which areas I can improve, that’s what gets me to where I am today,” Kilde added.
Impregnable on the track, he beat the Canadian James Crawford by 61 hundredths, the Swiss Marco Odermatt finishing third at 63 hundredths. Crowned downhill world champion in February in Courchevel, he will wait to win a first victory in this specialty in the World Cup.
The Austrian Vincent Krichmayr, who was the only one still able to challenge Kilde’s domination of this specialty, finished at the foot of the podium at 70 hundredths.
– Odermatt will wait for Kranjska Gora –
Despite this eighth World Cup victory of the season – he also won two super-Gs – the Norwegian does not seem able to upset Odermatt in his quest for a second big crystal globe in a row. The latter now has a 346-point lead, before Sunday’s super-G, his specialty.
But, even if he wins without Kilde scoring any points, he will only come very close to the goal, as there will then be five races left by the end of the season. Also, the coronation of the Swiss, aged 25, should occur next weekend in the Slovenian resort of Kranjska Gora.
On the French side, veteran Johan Clarey, 42, distinguished himself with a fine fifth place, for one of his last races before retiring.
Other tricolors were in the running. Maxence Muzaton ranked 20th, Adrien Théaux 23rd, Nils Allègre 24th and Alexis Pinturault 30th.
The race took place under gray skies but in decent conditions, unlike the day before. The first descent had indeed been canceled halfway through the race, due to bad weather. What had arranged Kilde and Odermatt, penalized during their passages, but also frustrated the Norwegian Adrian Smiseth Sejersted, author of the best time and deprived of a first victory in the World Cup.
And the latter, on Saturday, could not hope for a “happy ending”, since he did not finish his race, after an error made.