Pinturault wins World Cup super-G, Svindal slumps
LENZERHEIDE, Switzerland — Aksel Lund Svindal all but conceded the overall World Cup title to Marcel Hirscher on Thursday after failing to score points in a super-G surprisingly won by Alexis Pinturault of France.
Hirscher placed 12th in a rare super-G start as Svindal — who already won the season-long discipline title — finished 16th, trailing 2.16 seconds behind Pinturault.
Hirscher, the two-time defending overall champion, earned 22 points and now trails Svindal by only 19 with his best events to come.
"It’s over in the sense that up until today I could win it," said Svindal, another two-time champion who bowed his head toward his skis when seeing his time in the finish area. "And now he can only lose it."
Hirscher was hugged by his Austrian teammates when Svindal cross the line.
"I’m nearly shocked. Me before Aksel, Aksel no points. That is crazy," said Hirscher, who is favored to score heavily in the season-ending giant slalom and slalom races this weekend.
Svindal will race the GS but skip slalom on Sunday.
"All I can do is sit and watch," Svindal said.
In a race of surprises, Pinturault’s victory as the last racer denied unheralded teammate Thomas Mermillod Blondin an even more stunning win. Pinturault mostly skips super-G but won in 1 minute, 13.71 seconds to beat Mermillod Blondin by 0.56.
"When I saw my time in the finish area it was just amazing," said Pinturault, who was runner-up in super-G at the 2012 World Cup Finals.
Bode Miller of the United States was a further one-hundredth back in third, repeating his bronze-medal placing in super-G at the Sochi Olympics.
"It was kind of a weird result," said Miller, who led going through the last time split. "I probably had two and a half seconds, three seconds worth of mistakes in my run. I felt good about battling through it."
Ted Ligety of the United States was fifth, following up his runner-up spot in the downhill on Wednesday.
Still, Pinturault’s win lifted him above Ligety into third place overall and technically still in contention for the overall title. The Frenchman trails Hirscher by 153 points.
"The goal in the future is to win the overall title," Pinturault said, "not to finish second or third."