Noel wins Slovenia slalom as tensed up Pinturault bombs out

·2-min read
France's Clement Noel on his way to slalom success in Slovenia

France's Clement Noel won Sunday's World Cup slalom at Kranjska Gora which could prove costly for Alexis Pinturault's hopes of being crowned overall champion.

Pinturault's lead in the hunt for the big crystal globe was cut to 31 points on Saturday when Marco Odermatt claimed the giant slalom.

But any hopes the French skier had of exploiting Odermatt's absence back on the same slope on Sunday were undone when, placed fourth to Noel after the first run he failed to finish the second leg.

His pointless performance sets up a gripping title run in with only four events of the season remaining.

Noel led home a French 1-2 with Victor Muffat-Jeandet finishing second for his first slalom podium.

Their compatriot Pinturault meanwhile endured a wretched time, coming a cropper early on the second run in conditions rendered awkward by the incessant flurries of snow.

Without success since last month's worlds in Cortina d'Ampezzo Pinturault has watched his overall lead dwindle as Odermatt has struck a rich seam of form.

"I'm tired physically and mentally, I'm getting a little tense as the season comes to an end, in contrast to Marco Odermatt who has nothing to lose," said a reflective Pinturault.

"I'm a bit jaded, I can't perform as I want to, it's frustrating.

"I was hoping this weekend would set me up for next week," he added.

Neither of the pair are past overall champions and their battle for a maiden title will now be played out at Lenzerheide in Switzerland at the finals next week comprising a downhill, super-G, giant slalom and slalom.

Noel took the honours by 0.62sec from Muffat-Jeandet with Ramon Zenhaeusern, third after the first go, at 0.71sec in third.

"It was horrible to ski, but you have to know how to do it, not all races are perfect," said the all smiling winner who was taking his tally for the season to two wins.

rg/nr/dmc