Pinturault wins combined to keep globe-seeking Norwegians on edge

Hinterstoder (Austria) (AFP) –


France's Alexis Pinturault ensured the race for the overall World Cup title will go down to the wire by winning Sunday's alpine combined in Hinterstoder.

The victory in the event comprising a super-G and slalom -- a discipline in which he is reigning world champion -- was Pinturault's 28th on the World Cup circuit and 10th in the combined.

Sitting second after the super-G won by Switzerland's Mauro Caviezel, Pinturault laid down a near-perfect slalom run for a combined total of 2min 04.90sec.

It was a good day's racing for the 28-year-old Frenchman, coming after a confidence-boosting fourth-placed finish in Saturday's super-G.

His victory saw him leapfrog Norway's Henrik Kristoffersen into second spot in the overall standings, on 1,048 points.

Overall leader Aleksander Aamodt Kilde (1,082pts) missed out altogether in Saturday's super-G as he failed to finish the course, but the Norwegian held his nerve on the slalom to finish a combative third in the combined to bag 60pts.

Kristoffersen on Saturday came in 22nd in his first-ever super-G race and elected to play it safe in the slalom section of the combined to ensure an 11th-placed finish, and 24 valuable points, to stay in the race (981pts).

Racers will tackle what promises to be a cliff-hanger of a giant slalom in the Austrian resort on Monday.

It is a discipline in which Pinturault has won four global bronze medals (2015 and 2019 worlds; 2014 and 2018 Olympics), while Kristoffersen is current Olympic silver medallist and reigning world champion.

Kilde, however, has never made a giant slalom podium, meaning Pinturault and Kristoffersen have, at least on paper, a golden opportunity to make up ground on the Norwegian.