Bittersweet day for Svindal, Pinturault wins race
Aksel Lund Svindal picked up the super-G crystal globe today in Lenzerheide (SUI), but his 16th-place finish left him with zero points on the day, leaving Marcel Hirscher (AUT) in pole position to win the overall season title.
Svindal’s 16th-place finish was only one theme at an exciting super-G season finale, which saw Alexis Pinturault come down as the 26th and final skier to claim the day’s victory by a margin of 0.56 seconds over teammate Thomas Mermillod Blondin. American Bode Miller rounded out the podium just 0.01 seconds behind Mermillod Blondin. Austrian Matthias Mayer had a chance to make it two straight podiums in Lenzerheide, but Pinturault's last-minute heroics knocked Mayer into fourth place.
Pinturualt was an unlikely winner in today’s elite field at the season final for super-G. The young Frenchman, who is better known for his technical events, only had two previous podiums in the super-G, the last once coming as a second-place finish in 2012 in Schladming. The win also moved Pinturualt into third place in the overall World cup standings.
“When I saw my time at the finish line it was just amazing,” said Pinturault. “I am really hopeful for the next season. I will work harder and hopefully continue in this direction. The goal in the future is to win the overall title, not to finish second or third.”
Mermillod Blondin was also a big surprise to make the podium in Lenzerheide. It was his first-ever podium finish in super-G at the World Cup level and his highest-ever finish on the tour. Previously, he earned three third-place finishes in the super combination.
Miller followed up on his Olympic super-G bronze medal by finishing in the same position at today’s last race of the season. It was a solid ending for the speed events for the American, who is expected to race the full five races this week in Lenzerheide.
Svindal was clearly frustrated with his day’s performance, despite picking the prize as the season’s top super-G racer. Svindal said after the race that he will only compete in the giant slalom and skip the slalom giving him just one chance to make up valuable ground after today’s zero-point finish.
“It’s not the way I wanted to end it, I wanted to be faster today, but that’s the way it goes sometimes,” Svindal said. “I didn’t ski well enough today. I made a mistake at the bottom entering the flatter part of the course and it cost me. I will be there for the giant slalom and will do my best, but I guarantee that I will not be there for the slalom.”
“I have three chances, maybe I can use one or two or even all three of them to earn points,” said Hirscher. “But we will see, anything is possible.