Austria’s Baumann wins World Cup super-combined race
The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado
CHAMONIX, France – Romed Baumann held off a strong challenge from promising Frenchman Alexis Pinturault to win Sunday’s World Cup super-combined race for his second career victory.
Baumann led Pinturault by a comfortable 3.27 seconds after posting the fastest time in the morning’s downhill run on the La Verte des Houches course, and the Austrian held firm in the afternoon slalom session to win by 1.10 seconds.
Switzerland’s Beat Feuz, tied for fifth after the downhill, was 1:19 behind Baumann in third place – his third supercombi podium so far this season.
“I’m so happy because I’ve had to wait for so long,” Baumann said. “At every single race this weekend I’ve been so close to victory. It’s finally happened.”
American skier Bode Miller was one of several racers who failed to finish the downhill in the icy conditions. Miller crashed but got back up.
The 26-year-old Baumann’s previous World Cup win was also a supercombi race, in 2009 in Sestriere, Italy.
“When I finished and looked at the podium and saw it was green (that he had won). Then I looked more closely and saw that my margin was more than one second,” he said. “It’s definitely special. It’s true that I had a big lead but I’m still proud of the slalom I produced to win by such a big margin.”
Baumann also finished second in Saturday’s downhill, part of a good race weekend for Austria. Klaus Kroell won Friday’s downhill, and Baumann tied for fourth.
“I looked at the video from (Saturday), and I don’t know where I could have beaten Jan Hudec, but I was mad at myself for Friday’s downhill,” said Baumann, who was just .08 seconds behind Kroell. “I made a big mistake (on Friday) and yet I was still close. It’s been a great three days.”
Baumann has two other career podiums in supercombi, finishing second in Reiteralm, Austria in 2006 and third in the French resort of Val d’Isere in 2009. He was also third in a combined race last year in Kitzbuehel, Austria.
The 20-year-old Pinturault earned his third career podium, with the other two in giant slalom last year.
“I was in a bad position after my downhill and I’m glad I managed to take my chance in the slalom,” Pinturault said. “It’s certainly a great moment for me to get a podium in front of my fans, to please the French.”
“It’s frustrating not to be first,” he added. “But you have to be realistic, and when your rival is more than three seconds ahead of you then it’s going to be difficult.”
Feuz, who finished way down in 21st place in Friday’s downhill, was pleased at how he bounced back.
“I’m happy with how I raced,” Feuz said. “I’m proud of my fourth place (in Saturday’s downhill) and my podium today.”
Overall World Cup leader Ivica Kostelic had too much to do after finishing the downhill 2.81 seconds behind in 19th. Despite his superb slalom skills – he won silver at the last Winter Games – the Croatian finished in seventh.
Kostelic won last year’s supercombi in Chamonix, after erasing a deficit of 2.50 from the downhill.
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User Legend: Moderator Trusted User
Had Hailey Swirbul decided against going to Europe, she would not have finished with a career-best result in Friday’s World Cup opener. Yes, there was a time, and not long ago, when the U.S. ski team member and Roaring Fork Valley native questioned her desire to put on a race bib.