Canada’s James Crawford is yet to win a World Cup race, but he stunned the favorites on Thursday by claiming a surprise super-G world title.
Crawford denied Norwegian star Aleksander Aamodt Kilde his first major championship gold on the 1,857m L’Eclipse course by the slimmest possible margin of a hundredth of a second.
Monday’s alpine combined winner Alexis Pinturault earned his second medal of his home World Championships in France by taking bronze, just like he did two years ago.
This left no place on the podium for pre-race favourite, Swiss Marco Odermatt, who had to settle for fourth place, 0.37 off the pace.
World Cup leader Odermatt had won four of the season’s six super-g races and finished on the podium in the other two won by Kilde, making the two top contenders.
Odermatt was the first of the favourites, but his lead time was first bettered by later skier Pinturault, whose joy did not last long as Kilde followed immediately and took the lead.
However, it was Crawford, who skied just after Kilde, who had the last laugh as he overcame a slow start with a strong finish to take an unlikely gold by beating Kilde to become the second super-g winner for Canada, after the success of Eric Guay in 2017.
Crawford is a speed specialist with three World Cup podiums in downhill and super-G, as well as an Olympic bronze in last year’s alpine combined, but he had never won a race before.
His best result of the season in the discipline was sixth and he had failed to finish in two of the last three races.