Val d’Isere – Martin Čater won the World Cup season opening downhill in France’s Val d’Iser on Sunday in what is the first podium finish for the 27-year-old, who entered the race with the start number 41.
In a sensational feat, Čater headed down the piste two hours into the race but his perfect line in excellent conditions allowed him to take the lead of the pack.
He finished the race 0.22 seconds ahead of Austria’s Otmar Striedinger in second and 0.27 seconds ahead of Switzerland’s Urs Kryenbühl in third.
“I still cannot believe it. I thought I was fast, I really had a good run, but I still couldn’t believe it was enough for a victory,” the incredulous Čater told reporters.
“There’s been a lot of fresh snow and the organizers did their best to prepare an excellent, bump-free, smooth track, ideal in fact as I had every good conditions despite the high start number.”
He said that he was in shock himself when he crossed the finish line and looked at the results board.
“Incredible sensations. I hope I won’t change a thing going into the next race and keep my focus,” he said.
Čater is only the third Slovenian male World Cup downhill winner since independence after Andrej Jerman, who has two wins, and Boštjan Kline, who secured the most recent one in 2017.
His personal World Cup downhill best so far was 8th in Wengen in 2019 and his World Cup best 6th spot in the Wengen alpine combined in January this year. At the super-G event yesterday he failed to get any points at all.