Berthod lifts Swiss with slalom victory

Berthod came from behind to seal his spectacular win Keystone

Marc Berthod has pulled off a shock slalom victory for Switzerland in Adelboden to become the first Swiss man to win the discipline in the World Cup since 1999.

This content was published on January 7, 2007 - 14:55

Also on Sunday, ski jumper Simon Ammann put in the best performance by a Swiss for almost 30 years in the prestigious Four Hills competition in Austria.

Berthod beat giant slalom winner, Austrian Benjamin Raich, by a mere 0.26 of a second to claim a sensational win on Sunday. Swiss team-mate Daniel Albrecht finished in a credible tenth place.

The result will come as a huge boost to Swiss competitive skiing that has languished in the doldrums in recent years. Berthod's victory is the first by a Swiss in any World Cup event for almost three years.

The 23-year-old Berthod pulled off a miraculous second run in the Bernese Oberland to climb from 27th place to the top of the podium. He easily had the fastest second leg, some 1.53 seconds quicker than Italy's Manfred Moelgg.

Wearing number 60, he was considered one of the rank underdogs on the day.

The comeback to win from 27th position bettered the previous record held by Raich, who powered to first place from 23rd in Schladming, Austria, seven years ago.

In 2001, Croatian Ivica Kostelic was victorious in the slalom in Aspen, in the US, despite wearing number 64.

Drought broken

Berthod's win in Adelboden was all the more remarkable considering that the skier from St Moritz crashed out of the giant slalom event on Saturday.

"I did not have anything to lose in the slalom and could just ski without any pressure," said Berthod, who was runner-up in a super-combi at Beaver Creek, Colorado, last November but never reached higher than 16th in a World Cup slalom.

"I could really let myself go and liberate myself. It was really great. It's such an incredible gift for me, for Switzerland, for the home crowd."

The last Swiss to win a World Cup slalom event was Didier Plaschy in Kranjka Gora, Slovenia, in 1999.

Didier Cuche was the last Swiss to claim victory in any World Cup event when he won in the downhill event in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, in 2004. Cuche finished in seventh place in Saturday's giant slalom.

Back in contention

Over in Bischofhofen in Austria, 2002 Olympic champion Ammann came third in the last leg of the Four Hills tournament, to end up in the same position in the overall standings.

Norway's Andreas Jacobsen's second placed finish on the day sealed him the overall title.

Ammann's teammate Andreas Küttel ended up in seventh place in Bischofshofen and fifth overall. Both Swiss competitors were in contention for the overall title at the start of the fourth and final leg.

The last time a Swiss made it onto the podium of the Four Hills tournament was in 1978 when Hansjörg Sumi finished second.

Ammann and Küttel currently lie third and fourth in the World Cup standings.

swissinfo with agencies

In brief

The history of ski competition in Adelboden is older than the World Cup, which has been running since 1967. The first event at Adelboden took place in 1955.

The first winner was Martin Julen, the father of Max Julen who was later to become an Olympic winner. The first giant slalom took place in 1958, with a Swiss winner again - Roger Staub.

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Key facts

1. Marc Berthod (Swi) 1:47,42
2. Benjamin Raich (Aut) 0.26 seconds behind
3. Mario Matt (Aut) 0.38
10. Daniel Albrecht (Swi) 1.25
23. Marc Gini (Swi) 3.27

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