Jan Hudec 2nd in men's super-G at Val Gardena
Albertan clinches Canada's first podium finish of season
Calgary's Jan Hudec skied to a podium finish on Friday, taking second place behind winner Aksel Lund Svindal in the men's World Cup super-G at Val Gardena, Italy.
Svindal increased his overall World Cup lead with his third career win in the Val Gardena, crossing in one minute 35.82 seconds in a flawless run.
Hudec finished second, 0.58 seconds behind, and Adrian Theaux of France was third, 0.91 back.
"I was never in a position to ski the way I wanted to ski and that's been very frustrating," Hudec said. "Especially last season, I was struggling with my knee. This is the first time in I don't know how many years that I'm skiing the way I've wanted to ski.
"In the past I would do course inspection and account for my knee and not take too tight a line. Today, I just put everything on the line."
Svindal skied after Hudec and benefited from hearing Hudec's course report as part of a training arrangement between Norway and Canada.
"It's pretty unique in a competitive sport like this where two nations work together," Hudec said. "It takes a lot of confidence on both sides."
Erik Guay of Mont Tremblant, Que., was sixth overall (1:37.19).
Other Canadian results: Jeffrey Frisch of Mont Tremblant was 33rd (1:39.04), Robbie Dixon of Whistler, B.C., finished 35th (1:39.33), and Benjamin Thomsen of Invermere, B.C., came in 43rd (1:39.69). Conrad Pridy was 45th (1:39.81), while his brother Morgan Pridy ended up 47th (1:40.04); both are from Whistler.
Several contenders, including Manuel Osborne-Paradis, skied off course or fell, with flat light making for difficult conditions. The North Vancouver native had been third, with Guay first, in Thursday's downhill training season.
For Hudec, it is a fifth career World Cup podium appearance, and the first since February 2012.
He joins the "Val Gardena" club, with Canadian teammates Guay (three times), Osborne-Paradis (twice) and John Kucera (once) previously reaching the podium at the World Cup stop.
Svindal won for the third time this season and 24rd time in his career.
"Racing never gets old," he said. "Every time you cross the finish line, you look up to see your time hoping you're fast, because you never really know. ... When you see that green light that's always the best moment."
With wins worth 100 points each, Svindal moved 125 points ahead of Austrian rival Marcel Hirscher, who does not usually race super-G, in the overall standings. Ted Ligety of the United States remained third, 191 points back, after skiing off course on the top section.
Svindal also moved atop the super-G standings, 91 points ahead of Patrick Kueng of Switzerland, who went off course midway down his run.
A downhill is scheduled for Saturday, then the circuit moves over the Gardena pass into Alta Badia for a giant slalom on Sunday.
With files from CBCSports.ca