Braathen was in 5th place after the first round in the giant slalom opening in Sölden, and in the second round he delivered even better.
The 20-year-old made a small mistake along the way, but the rest of the drive was extremely offensive. Gino Caviezel, who led after the first half and was last out of the challengers, was clearly nervous and could not fulfill.
Braathen thus took his very first victory among the biggest guys. It was also Norway’s first victory in Sölden since Aksel Lund Svindal won there in 2007.
– Sure, Braathen shouted when he came in to lead from fifth position.
– Too much to ask for
Braathen was finally 5/100 ahead of Swiss Marco Odermatt and another 41/100 ahead of Caviezel on the Rettenbach Glacier.
– This is too much to ask for. I know I am mentally strong and that I am good technically. I knew I could get on the podium, but, man, this is absolutely incredible, he says in the official victory interview, shown on TV 2.
When the reporter asked if we got a glimpse into the future since Braathen and the Swiss talent Odermatt took the top two places on the podium, the answer was:
– You can bet on that!
NRK and TV 2 expert Nina Haver-Løseth thinks today’s victory is just the beginning for the Hokksund man.
– I get chills from looking at him. You see he is hungry to drive fast, she says on TV 2’s broadcast.
– It comes early in the career. It’s an insanely strong achievement. The driving he showed with a mistake as well, and the way he gave gas … I sit completely speechless. It is absolutely fantastic, she continues.
Braathen broke through in many ways in Sölden last season. Then he became number ten. This year he took the step all the way up.
Henrik Kristoffersen was the best of the Norwegians after the first round, with his 3rd place, but did not quite make it in the second round, and ended up in a shared 5th place.
Leif Kristian Nestvold-Haugen retained his 8th place after the first half. Fabian Wilkens Solheim drove out in the second lap.
Last season’s World Cup winner overall, Alexander Aamodt Kilde, started well from starting number three in the first round and passed as best man in the first half. Maybe it was too fresh, because Kilde drove out before he came down to the second intermediate time.
– I got off to a really good start, but then the shoe slipped, I came across the pole and the binding came off. There are small margins. It was not the case that I bet too much, Kilde told TV 2.