Austrian skier Marco Schwarz’s pursuit of the overall World Cup title faced a significant setback on Thursday in Bormio.
The men’s downhill competition witnessed Frenchman Cyprien Sarrazin clinch an unexpected triumph, leaving Schwarz grappling with a potential knee injury.
Entering the event with an eight-point lead over Marco Odermatt in the overall standings, Schwarz’s hopes took a hit as he seemed to twist his right knee, ultimately crashing into the safety nets halfway down the course.
The 28-year-old, victorious in the slalom at Madonna di Campiglio just last week, remained motionless for several minutes before being assisted by paramedics.
Despite the initial concern, Schwarz managed to limp away without support but was later airlifted to the hospital by helicopter. Odermatt, a two-time title holder, capitalized on Schwarz’s misfortune, finishing 0.09 seconds behind Sarrazin and securing the top spot in the standings.
With a 72-point lead over Schwarz, Odermatt’s dominance in the overall rankings is now evident. The fate of Schwarz’s participation in Friday’s super-G remains uncertain, casting a shadow over his World Cup campaign.
For Sarrazin, this marked only his second World Cup win, with his previous victory dating back to the parallel giant slalom at Alta Badia in December 2016.
Displaying commendable form, the 29-year-old French skier showcased daring skiing on the challenging Stelvio piste, securing his place in history as the first French skier to win a World Cup downhill since Adrien Theaux in December 2015.
“I finally put together a perfect race,” Sarrazin expressed to Eurosport. “When I crossed the line, I said to myself ‘you did your job.'”
The unexpected turn of events in Bormio has undoubtedly reshaped the landscape of the World Cup, setting the stage for a thrilling remainder of the season.