Norway’s Aksel Lund Svindal wins a downhill |

Norway’s Aksel Lund Svindal wins a downhill

Stephan Nasstrom
The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado
Aksel Lund Svindal, of Norway, speeds down the course on his way to winning an alpine ski, Men's World Cup Downhill race, in Are, Sweden, Wednesday, March 11, 2009. (AP Photo/Elvis Piazzi)

ARE, Sweden ” Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway won the men’s World Cup downhill finale to take the overall lead Wednesday, and Michael Walchhofer clinched the downhill championship.

Svindal, skiing on the hill where he won the downhill gold at the 2007 World Championships, completed the Olympia course in 1 minute, 22.26 seconds.

Didier Cuche of Switzerland was second, 0.20 behind. Hans Olsson of Sweden finished third, 0.36 back.

Svindal leads the overall standings with 929 points. Benjamin Raich of Austria, another former overall champion and a gate specialist, advanced to second with 857 points after placing 13th.

Cuche moved to third with 843 points. Ivica Kostelic of Croatia, who shared the overall lead with Raich going into the race, dropped to fourth with 837 points after finishing 17th.

Three races ” a super G, giant slalom and slalom ” remain at these finals.

Walchhofer clinched the downhill title when his only challenger, Austrian teammate Klaus Kroell, only managed the ninth fastest time. Kroell trailed Walchhofer by 75 points going into the race. A win is worth 100 points.

Walchhofer, who started behind Kroell, skied out and did not finish the race. It was his third downhill championship since 2005.

He finished with 470 points. Kroell had 424.

The Olympia course was shortened nearly 300 meters because of fog at the 1,240-meter start altitude.

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