Rookie Noel wins Wengen World Cup slalom

Wengen (Switzerland) (AFP) –


French tyro Clement Noel won his first ever World Cup race on Sunday clinching the men's slalom on the iconic Wengen slopes by setting the fastest morning chrono and holding off the opposition with a steady second run.

The 21-year-old is the first Frenchman to win a World Cup slalom since Alexis Pinturault five years ago. He relegated Austrian pair Manuel Feller to second, at 0.08sec, and Marcel Hirscher to third, at 0.10.

Noel, the 2018 junior world champion in slalom who also came fourth at the Olympic Games, has been straining at the leash in this season's slalom and won high praise a week ago when coming a narrow second to Hirscher on the daunting Adelboden slope.

"There is nothing he cannot win, he'll be Olympic champion, world champion, he can win the Crystal Globe (World Cup title), he is really strong," World Cup holder Hirscher said of Noel.

The young winner said Switzerland had been lucky for him.

"I do well in Switzerland. I've had a great week here. I got on my first podium at Adelboden and now here at Wengen my first win," he said.

"It's not easy when you are all alone at the start gate and feeling the pressure but I did well here and I'm now looking forwards to Kitzbuehel and Schladming," he said in reference to the two up-coming events in January known for their challenging slopes.