Svindal wins men’s super-combined at worlds |

Svindal wins men’s super-combined at worlds

Graham Dunbar
The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado
Aksel Lund Svindal, of Norway, negotiates a gate on his way to winning the Men's Super-combined race, at the World Alpine Ski Championships in Val d'Isere, France, Monday, Feb. 9, 2009. (AP Photo/Alessandro Trovati)

VAL D’ISERE, France ” Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway won the super-combined Monday at the world championships after his three closest challengers failed to finish their slalom runs.

Bode Miller skied out in the slalom, which was raced under floodlights, when he led the field by more than two seconds.

Svindal won in 2 minutes, 23.0 seconds for the downhill and slalom runs on the Face de Bellevarde course. He also won the downhill and giant slalom at the 2007 worlds in Are, Sweden, and started these championships with a bronze in the super G last week.

Julien Lizeroux of France was second, 0.90 behind, and Natko Zrncic-Dim of Croatia was third, 1.58 back. Svindal led after the morning downhill with an advantage of 0.04 over Miller.

Miller had been second after the downhill where he had a spectacular recovery after almost losing control on the bottom half of the course.

He needed a safe and steady run down the icy surface to be virtually assured of his first medal at a major championships since sweeping the two speed events at the 2005 worlds at Bormio, Italy.

The 31-year-old New Hampshire skier steadied himself after almost losing his balance in the top half and was well ahead on his time splits.But he could not recover from a second mistake and straddled a gate. He did not ski to the finish area to speak with reporters.

Miller skies independently of the national team but was receiving course reports from U.S. ski coaches.

“That bit of the course just became a really slippery shelf,” U.S. men’s head coach Sasha Rearick said. “Miller’s ski just got caught.”

This was Svindal’s first race win since taking the downhill and super-G in December at a World Cup meet in Beaver Creek, Colo. Svindal crashed during training at Beaver Creek in 2007, and his injuries kept him off the slopes for almost a year.

Slalom is Svindal’s weakest discipline and he made a big mistake in the first half of his run. But he held an advantage of 2.93 over Lizeroux from the downhill and recovered to finish safely in 52.01.

“It was good timing,” Svindal said after his best slalom run of the season.

Lizeroux was 22nd after the downhill but sliced through the gates in his favored discipline to post the fastest slalom of 49.98 seconds ” more than a second faster than any of his rivals.

The Frenchman won his first World Cup race last month, a slalom at Kitzbuehel, Austria. Lizeroux’s silver medal is the host nation’s second of the championships. Marie Marchand-Arvier won silver in the women’s super G last Tuesday.

French favorites Jean-Baptiste Grange and Adrien Theaux were fourth and third after the downhill but both skied out, bringing groans from the crowd.

“You can’t think about the crowd,” Svindal said. “I tried to do my own run.”

Zrncic-Dim was sixth after the downhill and won Croatia’s first medal of the championships. Teammate, Ivica Kostelic, the overall World Cup leader, was expected to challenge for a medal in super-combined but returned home to treat a back injury.

VAL D’ISERE, France (AP) ” Olympic champion Ted Ligety was disqualified from the super-combi at the World Championships on Monday for a breach of equipment rules.

The American’s bindings registered 0.15 millimeters too high in a random check after the downhill portion of the race.

Ligety was in 17th position and would have been hard pressed to move up into medal contention in the slalom leg later. He trailed downhill leader Aksel Lund Svindal by 2.35 seconds.

“All right, that’s that, let’s go train slalom and giant slalom,” Ligety said, looking forward to his remaining races.

Ligety won the traditional combined at the 2006 Turin Olympics, when the race consisted of a downhill leg and two slalom runs. The super-combi is only one downhill leg and one slalom run.

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