Svindal increases World Cup lead with super-G win in Val Gardena
Aksel Lund Svindal increased his overall World Cup lead by winning the Val Gardena super-G for the third time on Friday, while Ted Ligety skied off the course and Bode Miller finished eighth after colliding with the last gate.
Svindal clocked 1 minute, 35.82 seconds in a flawless run on the Saslong course to match his win here last year and in 2009. Jan Hudec of Canada finished second, 0.58 seconds behind, and Adrian Theaux of France was third.
Ligety went wide on the top section of the course and attempted to make the next gate, but pulled up when he realized it was too risky.
"This isn’t an ideal hill for me," said Ligety, who is a technical specialist. "I could have hooked it sideways to stay on the course, but I would have been seven seconds out."
Miller had trouble with his landing on the final jump, catching his pole on the gate.
"I got straight and came in there late and then made a good recovery to make the gate," Miller said as he walked away with his son sitting on his shoulders. "This course is just so easy, everyone is just pushing too hard.
"You’re seeing guys going too straight and blowing out of the course because they’re looking for speed where there isn’t any. That was a bit what I did, I just got away with it."
Svindal of Norway earned his 24th career win and third this season, including back-to-back speed races this month in Beaver Creek, Colo.
With wins worth 100 points each, Svindal moved 125 points ahead of Austrian rival Marcel Hirscher, who does not usually race super-G, in the overall standings. Ligety remained third, 191 points back.
Svindal also moved atop the super-G standings, 91 points ahead of Patrick Kueng of Switzerland, who went off course midway down his run.
With fog on the top and flat light the rest of the way down, seven of the top 30 starters did not finish. After watching so many skiers struggle, Svindal was pleased with his race plan — which is a big part of super-G because there are no training runs like in downhill.
"I think I had a good plan in inspection," he said. "It’s always nice when you look at some of the earlier racers making mistakes where you planned to ski a little rounder."
Two others were disqualified for missing the final gate — Peter Fill of Italy and Hannes Reichelt of Austria. Fill had a podium run going until he hit the last gate.
Matteo Marsaglia, an Italian who finished second last year, had a nasty fall midway down after failing to land a jump. He went barreling through a gate head-first and got twisted around as he slid down the mountain. But he got up and appeared to avoid serious injury.
A downhill is scheduled for Saturday before the circuit moves over the Gardena pass into Alta Badia for a giant slalom on Sunday. Ligety is the favorite after his dominant win there last year.