Switzerland’s Niels Hintermann claimed a surprise Alpine combined victory at the International Ski Federation (FIS) Alpine Skiing World Cup on home snow in Wengen today, but it was not enough to deny France’s Alexis Pinturault the discipline’s crystal globe.
Hintermann triumphed with an overall time of 2 min 26.58sec, but having failed to pick up any points in the only other Alpine combined event of the season in Italian resort Santa Caterina, the 100 points he earned today were not sufficient to overcome Pinturault whose 11 points for a 20th-place finish took him to 111.
Pinturault was the frontrunner going into the event after winning the opener in Santa Caterina last month and the Frenchman has now sealed back-to-back Alpine combined World Cup crystal globes.
Hintermann, who had never before registered a top-20 finish in his World Cup career, finished 0.26 seconds ahead of closest challenger Maxence Muzaton of France and a further 0.09 clear of third-placed Frederic Berthold of Austria.
A 23rd-place finish in the morning slalom proved pivotal to his victory as it placed him on what turned out to be the ideal end of the starting order for the afternoon’s downhill.
With the top 30 beginning the second section in reverse order, Hintermann completed his run before falling snow slowed the course for higher-ranked skiers.
His time of 1:34.29 was the second fastest behind Muzaton’s 1:34.15 and enough to push him onto the top spot of the podium.
Home favourite Justin Murisier clocked the fastest time in the slalom, 49.06, but ended up seventh after posting 1:38.70 in the downhill.
Pinturault, 25, made his World Cup debut aged just 17 in March 2009 and has finished third in the overall World Cup in each of the last three seasons.
The Sochi 2014 Olympic giant slalom bronze medallist, who finished fourth in the slalom and 30th in the downhill today, is currently second in this season’s overall standings.
He trails leader Marcel Hirscher of Austria by 288 points.
Action in Wengen is due to continue tomorrow with a downhill event.