Mayer wins downhill as Kilde regains overall lead

Kvitfjell (Norway) (AFP) –


Matthias Mayer won the last downhill of the men's World Cup season in Kvitfjell on Saturday as Aleksander Aamodt Kilde finished second to regain the lead in the overall standings.

Frenchman Alexis Pinturault dropped to second in the overall standings, 54 points behind Norwegian Kilde, with just three races left in the season.

Austrian Mayer edged Kilde by 0.14 seconds and Swiss skier Carlo Janka by 0.37.

The World Cup finals scheduled for Cortina d'Ampezzo in Italy from March 16-22 were cancelled on Friday because of the coronavirus outbreak. That left just four races in the season: Saturday's downhill and a super-G on Sunday in Kvitfjell, followed by a slalom and giant slalom scheduled for Kranjska Gora in Croatia on March 14 and 15.

Switzerland's Beat Feuz, fourth on Saturday, was already assured of winning his third consecutive downhill globe.

But the pressure was on the contenders for World Cup globes to collect points.

Slalom specialist Pinturault made only his fourth career downhill start and his first in seven years in a vain attempt to pick up points. He finished 37th, 2.61sec behind Mayer.

Kilde, who dominated the two training sessions on Thursday and Friday, skied third and set the best time with a flawless run in the sun.

But Mayer, who started 13th, deprived the Norwegian of a second victory this season while securing his fourth of the season and the ninth of his career.

The Austrian deprived Kilde of 20 points in the chase for the first big crystal globe since the retirement last summer of Austrian Marcel Hirscher who had won eight straight.