Kitzbuehel races: Aksel Lund Svindal spectacular in super-G
Norwegian's 7th win of the season extends country's win streak to 5
Aksel Lund Svindal won a World Cup super-G on Friday in Kitzbuehel, Austria, extending Norway's winning streak on the men's circuit to five races.
While most of his rivals struggled before entering the finish section, or at the final jump, Svindal avoided major mistakes and sped to his seventh victory of the season and 32nd overall.
Manuel Osbourne-Paradis was the top Canadian in the super-G, finishing 1.19 seconds behind Svindal for 11th. Morgan Pridy (+2.14), Jeffrey Frisch (+2.20), Morgan Megarry (+3.43), and Trevor Philp (+4.19) rounded out the Canadian field in 31st, 33rd, 49th, and 57th places, respectively.
Svindal won in 1 minute, 11.79 seconds on the Streifalm course, beating Andrew Weibrecht of the United States by 0.31, and Hannes Reichelt of Austria by 0.42.
"You can't expect something like this. You just have to enjoy it," said Svindal, a two-time overall champion who has never won more races in a season.
"If you want to win, you have to take risks," the Norwegian said. "I had some small mistakes."
After missing the last World Cup season because of a torn Achilles tendon, Svindal extended his lead in the overall standings to 107 points over four-time defending champion Marcel Hirscher of Austria, who finished outside of the top 20.
Norway leading the charge
After sweeping the previous four races — in Wengen and Adelboden, Switzerland — Norway has now won five straight events for the first time. The Norwegians have won 13 of 20 races this season, and are halfway to matching the best mark of 26 wins set by Austria in the 1999-2000 season.
The super-G also counted as the first portion of a super-combined event, which culminated in the slalom event later Friday. Svindal skied out of that race early, and the super-combined was won by Alexis Pinturault of France. Pinturault has now won the combined event in Kitzbuehel the last three years
"It will be tough to get on the podium again but if you don't start you can't win anything for sure," Svindal said.
Weibrecht was leading the race when Svindal hadn't yet started. The American was clean until he needed to adjust his line on the bottom part to make the next gate.
It ultimately didn't cost him the race as Svindal beat his time by a few hundredths at every split.
"It's a dream come true. Just to fulfill that, what a great day," Weibrecht said after earning his second career World Cup podium, following up on his third place at last month's super-G in Beaver Creek.
"It was a pretty clean run, it was good. I've been trying to keep it simple," he said. "I was just happy I skied technically well. I was over my skis nice, kept my speed, it was good. I looked at the course at inspection and I knew it was going to be tricky and was going to catch guys. So I tried to figure out how I was not going to be caught. I feel like I hit my spots pretty everywhere."
American teammates Ted Ligety and Travis Ganong were two of the racers that were thrown off line and missed a gate in the bottom section. It also kicked Ligety out of the combined competition.
"The thing is you have to push too hard if you're going to be competitive," said Ganong, a speed specialist who wouldn't have competed in the slalom anyway. "It's not worth backing off and being safe. You have to take the risk. It works for some, it doesn't work for others."
Kjetil Jansrud, who edged Svindal to win last week's combined event in Wengen, placed fourth, 0.53 behind his Norwegian teammate.
With files from CBC Sports