A Frenchman can hide another. At the end of the first round, the favorite Alexis Pinturault had dominated as we expected his opponents head and shoulders. His much less known teammate Mathieu Faivre was content with a good fourth place, flattering in view of his recent results. But the appetite for gold coming by tasting it, Mathieu Faivre launched full blast in the second round. Driven by the favorable wind of his title in parallel on Tuesday, February 16.
“Incredible, he who never falls”
This new event had left the best giantists in the world unmoved, who had preferred to stay at home, reserving for the queen event this Friday. They got it wrong, because Mathieu Faivre managed an almost perfect second round. Only Alexis Pinturault seemed able to do better five minutes later, starting in last place for his best time in the first round. What happened to cause him to fall at the very beginning of the course? Mystery. “Unbelievable, he who never falls, it’s unfair”, exclaims former Italian champion Maria Rosa Quario, little suspect of favoritism.
Like all, the former slalom woman is simply admiring the record and the style of the world number 1 giant, winner 33 times in the World Cup, twice Olympic bronze medalist. The winner of the day, trained in the Maritime Alps at Isola 2000, has only one World Cup victory, obtained in December 2016, more than four years ago. The surprise is therefore total, especially since the two men completing the podium, the Italian Luca De Aliprandini and the Austrian Marco Schwartz (titled in combined) are not regulars in the first ranks in giant either.
Excluded from the French team in 2018
“For the moment it’s unreal, it’s a sick thing” Mathieu Faivre said after the race. “I am proud of what I did even though everything was not perfect. I think the most important thing was to believe in it to the end, to fully commit. I am very happy “, added the 29-year-old boy, who has known dark hours. To the point of being excluded from the French team at the PyeongChang Games in 2018 for comments contrary to the collective spirit.
→ REMINDER. Mathieu Faivre excluded from the French team
A little shocked by this overthrow of hierarchies, the French camp had difficulty in letting its joy burst out. “It’s sad for Alexis, but frankly for Mathieu it is deserved after these years of hardship,” explains another giantist, Victor Muffat-Jeandet, who has seen his training teammate deploy in recent weeks. “I don’t want to reveal his tricks, but in any case, I’ll be inspired by it”, he added.
As for Alexis Pinturault, he remained calm and composed as always. “I knew the fifth gate was a problem. It hit and it takes my shoe. It did not work. I am disappointed, but I will have tried ”, explained the Savoyard who remains on two medals at the Cortina d’Ampezzo Worlds, bronze in super-G and silver in combined. Nothing compares to Faivre’s two golden ribbons, but nothing to be ashamed of either. Especially since he has one race left, the slalom on Sunday 21, to hope to add a third medal in his basket.