Switzerland's Niels Hintermann celebrates at the finish area of an...

Switzerland's Niels Hintermann celebrates at the finish area of an alpine ski, men's World Cup downhill race, in Kvitfjell, Norway, Saturday, Feb. 17, 2024. Credit: AP/Alessandra Tarantino

KVITFJELL, Norway — On a rare day with dominant World Cup skier Marco Odermatt absent from the podium, his teammate Niels Hintermann stepped up to earn Switzerland victory in a downhill on Saturday.

Hintermann edged out runner-up Vincent Kriechmayr of Austria by 0.08 seconds for his second downhill win, nearly two years after his triumph at the same resort in Norway.

In March 2022, Hintermann shared the victory with Cameron Alexander. On Saturday, the world championship bronze medalist from Canada was 0.19 behind in third.

“It’s not really explainable,” Hintermann said about winning twice in Kvitfjell. “I didn’t have the feeling that my run was perfect, I felt like you could go half a second or a second faster. It’s quite important to get a rhythm from start to finish and always keep the speed high. It’s not the most difficult track we have in World Cup, but it’s quite tough to be fast."

Hintermann has six podiums in downhill, including three in Kvitfjell, and won a combined event in Wengen seven years ago.

However, his best result this season was seventh.

“I just couldn’t figure it out this year, so it was quite a tough season so far,” Hintermann said. "Extremely happy that I could get back in that flow situation and mentality, and just having fun while racing, which was a big part missing through the entire season. With fun, I am faster than without.”

Switzerland's Niels Hintermann celebrates at the finish area of an...

Switzerland's Niels Hintermann celebrates at the finish area of an alpine ski, men's World Cup downhill race, in Kvitfjell, Norway, Saturday, Feb. 17, 2024. Credit: AP/Alessandra Tarantino

Kriechmayr's achievement ended a seven-race podium drought for the Austrian downhill team.

Following a run where he seemed to miss some of his usual fluency, Odermatt shared seventh position with American racer Ryan Cochran-Siegle, 0.75 seconds off the winner.

It was only the third time in his 19 starts across all disciplines this season that Odermatt didn’t finish in the top three. He won 10 of those races, including his first in downhill in Wengen in January.

“My run was OK. There were maybe one or two spots where I could have gained one or two-hundredths of a second,” said Odermatt, the downhill world champion.

Switzerland's Niels Hintermann is airborne during an alpine ski, men's...

Switzerland's Niels Hintermann is airborne during an alpine ski, men's World Cup downhill race, in Kvitfjell, Norway, Saturday, Feb. 17, 2024. Credit: AP/Gabriele Facciotti

Odermatt extended his lead in the discipline standings as his main competitor for the downhill title, Cyprien Sarrazin, sat out the race.

The French ski federation said Sarrazin crashed and injured his left calf in training Friday. Sarrazin, who won two downhills in Kitzbuehel last month, is also Odermatt's closest challenger in the overall standings.

Odermatt said he didn’t hold back in the race because of his rival’s absence.

“I always try to focus on myself, and I always want to win,” said the Swiss star, who is closing in on his third overall title.

Sarrazin’s teammate Nils Allegre had a nasty crash in the race as he slid off the course into the safety netting.

Allegre, who won his first World Cup race at a super-G in Germany three weeks ago, stayed down for a while but the French skier ultimately got up.

The French ski federation said he sprained his left knee and bruised his right shoulder, and would travel back to his native country for further tests on Monday.

Cochran-Siegle’s seventh position added to a strong showing by the U.S. team, which had six racers in the top 20, with Bryce Bennett in fourth, Sam Morse in 10th, Jared Goldberg in 17th, and Kyle Negomir and Wiley Maple in shared 19th.

For Morse and Negomir, it marked career-best results.

A super-G on Sunday concludes the race weekend in Norway.

More Olympics

Newsday LogoSUBSCRIBEUnlimited Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months
ACT NOWSALE ENDS SOON | CANCEL ANYTIME