Norway’s Svindal clinches World Cup super G title
The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado
ARE, Sweden ” Aksel Lund Svindal finished second behind Werner Heel in the final super G of the season to clinch the discipline title Thursday at the World Cup finals.
The Norwegian, skiing with a cold, also won the super G title in 2007. Svindal increased his lead in the overall standings to 1,009 points.
Heel of Italy won in 1 minute, 13.41 seconds down the 1.1-mile Olympia course. It was his third career win and his second in super G.
“It’s a great day,” said Heel, who won a downhill for his first World Cup victory at Kvitfjell, Norway, last year. “I enjoy skiing in this part of the world. I like the countryside, the snow and the atmosphere.”
Svindal was 0.07 behind while another Italian, Christof Innerhofer, was 0.20 back in third.
Ted Ligety of the United States finished 13th, while teammate Marco Sullivan was 28th.
Svindal said he “slept bad and had high fever” but never thought about skipping the race when he came to the course.
“Now I feel pretty good after the race,” he said. “But I had a rough night. I woke up (at) 2:30 and … couldn’t really sleep anything after that.”
The 26-year-old Svindal clinched the overall title two years ago by finishing 15th and getting the point he needed in the final race, a slalom. This season, Svindal has not picked up a single point in slalom.
“I think I will have problems in the slalom,” he said of the last event on Saturday.
A speed specialist, Svindal won the downhill finale Wednesday on the same hill where he captured two gold medals at the 2007 world championships.
Raich, the 2006 overall champion from Austria, missed the podium by just 0.01 in fourth place. He kept second place (907 points), but lost ground on Svindal in the chase for the overall title.
Still, Raich has his two best disciplines coming up ” the slalom and the giant slalom.
“I knew that I had to go fast, Raich said. “Go fast or go home is the motto now. Today it was fast. I’m happy about my performance.”
Raich was optimistic about his chances of catching Svindal going into the two final gate races.
“It’s true, they are strong ones for me,” he said. “But Svindal is more than 100 points ahead. So the chance is still living, but it’s hard. If I get possibilities, I will catch it.”
Svindal topped the final super G standings with 292 points. Heel was second with 256 and Didier Defago of Switzerland third with 242.
Hermann Maier, the 36-year-old Austrian veteran, led the standings going into the race, but made an early mistake and was never in contention the rest of the way. He finished 17th and outside the points
Maier, a four-time World Cup overall champion and five-time super G champion, shook his head several times when he left the finishing area. One of the oldest skiers on the circuit, Maier wound up fourth in the super G standings.
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