Canceled ski race sets up three-way fight for World Cup Alpine title in Slovenia
KVITFJELL, Norway — A tight, three-way fight for the men’s World Cup overall title was ensured Sunday when a super-G race was canceled due to the weather conditions.
Just two races — and a maximum 200 points to be won — remain in an early finish to the season next weekend in Slovenia. The scheduled March 18-22 finals meeting in northern Italy was cancelled Friday due to the spreading coronavirus.
Aleksander Aamodt Kilde leaves his native Norway with a 54-point lead over Alexis Pinturault of France, and 161 over his teammate Henrik Kristoffersen.
The giant slalom and slalom races in Kranjska Gora next weekend promise the closest finish since the now-retired Marcel Hirscher won the first of his eight straight overall titles in 2012.
Sunday’s cancellation in Norway handed the season-long super-G title to Mauro Caviezel, whose slender lead in the standings could not be challenged.
The 31-year-old Swiss was rewarded with his first career crystal trophy for a consistent season and top-5 finishes in all six super-G races. Caviezel stayed just three points ahead of Vincent Kriechmayr of Austria, who won two races and always finished in the top 10.
Switzerland has completed a season sweep of trophies in the men’s and women’s speed disciplines for the first time in 32 years.
Beat Feuz also won his third downhill season title, and Corinne Suter got her first crystal trophies in downhill and super-G.
Kilde perhaps lost the most Sunday as a standout super-G racer who, with a high-ranking finish, could have ended Kristoffersen’s title bid. He took the lead from Pinturault by finishing runner-up in the downhill on Saturday.
Though Kilde is having a career-best season in giant slalom, he never started a World Cup slalom and likely has only one chance to score significant points in Slovenia.
Pinturault and Kristoffersen both have multiple career wins in giant slalom and slalom races.
Hirscher typically led the overall standings by hundreds of points, though his debut title in 2012 was won by only 25 from Feuz.
The women’s World Cup had a blank weekend due to poor snow conditions in Ofterschwang, Germany, and also has one more meeting. Three races are scheduled in Sweden starting Thursday.
Federica Brignone holds a 153-point lead over Mikaela Shiffrin, the three-time defending champion, ahead of a parallel racing event, followed by a giant slalom and slalom at Are.
Brignone leads the GS standings and will win the crystal trophy by placing no worse than ninth on Friday. Petra Vlhova leads Shiffrin by 20 points in slalom ahead of the season-ending race Saturday.
Shiffrin traveled to Europe though has not confirmed she will race. She took a month-long break from the circuit to be with her family in Colorado after the death of her father.
Mikaela Shiffrin did a lot of soul searching after she didn’t win a medal and didn’t finish three of her five individual races at last year’s Beijing Olympics after entering the games amid enormous expectations.