It was champagne showers for all and sundry as Alexis Pinturault and Mathieu Faivre led a French one-two in the giant slalom at Japan’s Yuzawa Naeba.
The race marked a return to the World Cup tour for the resort which has not seen this competition for 41-years and after a challenging week with more than a meter of fresh snow, the course was in a perfect shape.
In second place after the first run, Pinturault skied a very strong second run and claimed the win half a second ahead of his French teammate. This is Pinturault’s second win of the season, after the Alpine Combined in Kitzbuehel and leaves him fifth in the overall standings.
For Mathieu Faivre the result marked the first time the 24-year-old has reached the World Cup podium and he is now in third place in the giant slalom season standings.
The biggest surprise of the day came from Massimiliano Blardone, who has decided this will be his farewell season. The 37-year-old Italian, one of the most experienced on the World Cup circuit, suggested the result means he can make a mark before saying his final goodbyes.