Svindal extends Norway's dominance at Kitzbuehel

Luke Phillips/AFP
Luke Phillips/AFP - [email protected]
Svindal extends Norway's dominance at Kitzbuehel

Aksel Lund Svindal powered to victory in the men's super-G on Friday to extend Norway's unprecedented dominance in the men's World Cup, with 13 wins from 20 races so far this season.


Svindal clocked 1min 11.79sec down the 2.1km-long course on the fabled Streifalm piste in cold, sunny conditions.
It was Svindal's 32nd career victory on the World Cup circuit and his seventh this season. Importantly it stretched his lead in the overall standings from Austrian rival Marcel Hirscher, who could only finish 23rd (+1.90), to 107 points.
American Andrew Weibrecht took second, at 0.31sec, with home hopes somewhat fulfilled as reigning world champion in the discipline, Austrian Hannes Reichelt, rounded out the podium in third (+0.42).
"With the ice and the sun, it's a good day to ski Kitzbuehel," said Svindal. "I made a slight mistake on the traverse, but if you want to win, you have to take maximum risk."
Svindal added: "I'll savour this victory and work so it continues like that, even if you must respect (rivals)."
The super-G combines elements of the downhill and the giant slalom, but unlike the downhill, skiers do not have the chance of a pre-race training run, only a one-hour visual inspection on the morning of the race.
The course proved tricky at the bottom, with a series of gates coming off the final Zielsprung putting paid to many skiers' efforts, not least American Ted Ligety, who bombed out two gates from the finish.
Ligety's teammate Weibrecht, however, was delighted by his second place, only his second World Cup podium in eight seasons after finishing previously notching up a third place in the Beaver Creek super-G this season.
"It was great, a good run and I'm happy with my performance," said the Olympic super-G silver medallist, whose thoughts now turn to Saturday's downhill.
"The downhill's been going well for me this year... so I'll try to build on that and give it my all."
Svindal, a former two-time world combined champion, is one a number of racers however who will compete in a later slalom, the joint results going to the combined title.
A number of slalom specialists will fancy their chances of hauling themselves up the leaderboard when the racers take to the adjoining Ganslern piste from 1545 GMT.
Best placed is Frenchman Alexis Pinturault, 13th in the super-G but only 1.22sec off Svindal.
Importantly, Pinturault has a 0.68sec advance on main rival Hirscher, piling the pressure on the Austrian who is bidding for an unprecedented fifth successive World Cup overall title this season.
"I'm pretty happy. It was a good super-G for me, the deficit is not big so I'm not badly placed," said Pinturault, seeking a third successive combined victory in Kitzbuehel.
"As usual, I'll have to put down a big slalom and see what happens when I get down."
Hirscher said he had been "very pleased" with his super-G.
"I'm surprised I was so fast, it's great to be that fast down that hill," he said. "On the lower part, I knew I couldn't push that much, but I'm happy."
After the 76th running of the downhill, which made its debut in 1931, on Saturday comes the two legged slalom on Sunday.


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