Will the duel between Kilde and Odermatt go into the next round?
Two athletes have left their mark at the start of the 2022/23 season in the speed disciplines. Norway's Aleksander Aamodt Kilde won three of four races overseas and finished second once. Marco Odermatt from Switzerland also claimed a victory, finishing second twice and adding another podium in third place. Will this impressive series continue at the 55th Saslong Classic?
According to numerous experts, Aleksander Aamodt Kilde and Marco Odermatt are among the most all-around racers in the entire ski circuit. Currently, they are the two athletes who are in the best shape. Of the first five World Cup races of the 2022/23 season, Kilde won three, and Odermatt stood on the highest podium in the other two decisions. Odermatt, for example, decided the giant slalom in Sölden in his favor. Then, Kilde struck back in the downhill in Lake Louise before Odermatt triumphed in the super-G at the Canadian ski resort. A Kilde double then followed in Beaver Creek (USA). The only speed race of the new season that Kilde did not win was the super-G at Lake Louise. Here, the Norwegian finished in second place.
Reigning overall World Cup winner Marco Odermatt, who is already back in the lead this new season, even finished on the podium in all five opening races. The 25-year-old from Hergiswil finished third in the downhill at Lake Louise and twice came within a hair's breadth of victory at Beaver Creek. Only Kilde was faster than the Swiss on the Bird of Prey slope.
Kilde's home game
Now the two dominators of this early stage of the season are coming to Val Gardena/Gröden. Returning to the South Tyrolean speed classic for Kilde is practically a home game. The 30-year-old from Lommendalens has won three of the last four races on the Saslong and was extremely fast in the downhill last year until he retired after a mistake. The Scandinavian has six podiums to his name on Val Gardena/Gröden's local mountain - four of them as the winner. Kilde is also the only athlete besides his compatriot Aksel Lund Svindal to win the downhill and super-G in one year. Two years ago, he also took the special DOLOMITES Val Gardena Südtirol Ski Trophy.
While Kilde is returning to one of his favorite slopes, as he has repeatedly emphasized in countless interviews, the Saslong has only had one good result for Odermatt. The Olympic giant slalom champion has a ninth-place finish in the super-G on the 1970 World Cup slope to his credit. He achieved this result two years ago. In the downhill, however, the current World Cup overall winner only took part in two training sessions. This year Odermatt ist taking things pretty serious and will compete for the first time in the “supreme discipline”.