Manfred Pranger remained cool and collected as his main rivals slid out all around him to win a thrilling men’s slalom at the World Ski Championships on Sunday.
Pranger recorded the fastest time in the event’s first run, meaning he started in 30th and last position on the second run down the demanding Bellevarde course that had been re-watered overnight to make it extra icy.
The 31-year-old waited his turn as six of the top 10 crashed out, including heavily fancied home favorite Jean-Baptiste Grange, fellow Austrian Benjamin Raich, Ted Ligety of the US and Swedish duo Jens Byggmark and Johan Brolenius.
Pranger confirmed his gold after negotiating the 64 gates of the 591m-long second run with the seventh quickest time after overcoming a couple of hitches at the top of the course.
In sunny but cold conditions, Pranger clocked a combined total over the two runs of 1 minute, 44.14 seconds, 0.31 seconds ahead of France’s Julien Lizeroux, with Canadian Michael Janyk a further 1.22 seconds adrift for a surprise bronze.
Once again, Lizeroux upstaged his countryman Grange, the World Cup slalom leader, having already won super-combined silver. The result meant that France were left without a title on home soil.