Svindal strikes again
He did it again. Norwegian Aksel Lund Svindal collected his fifth season victory on the Audi FIS World Cup tour, this time claiming the downhill crown in Val Gardena (ITA).
It was Svindal’s second victory in as many days after he also won yesterday’s super-G. Svindal was the fastest in both training runs, and after yesterday’s win, it came as little surprise that he was once again standing on the top step of the podium, although he faced stiff competition from Guillermo Fayed (FRA) and teammate Kjetil Jansrud who finished second and third, respectively.
Svindal has won all three downhill races this season, after also taking the victories in Lake Louise and Beaver Creek. Today, he had a comfortable margin of victory, winning by 0.43 seconds. The margin between Fayed and Jansrud was slim, with the Frenchman earning the edge by 0.03 seconds.
"It's been an incredible start to the season," said Svindal. "You hope you're fast compared to everyone else, but there's a difference between being fast and winning when it really matters. I like Italy, it's a place that's always been very good to me. The crowds are very Norwegian friendly."
The trio are no stranger to the podium this season. Jansrud now has three podium finishes, while it was Fayed’s second of the season. But with Svindal’s flawless skiing this season, it has been hard for anyone to earn the victory in the speed event.
"The run was good. I think everybody was surprised by the jumps and the speed," said Jansrud. "Parts of my skiing have been good this season and parts not as good, but step by step it's coming and I'm getting to where I want to be."
Svindal has missed the podium only once this season, in the Beaver Creek super-G, where he was battling a stomach virus, other than that 21st-place finish, it has been nothing but first place for the towering Norwegian.
"It's very difficult to try to beat Svindal this season, we try to do the same as him, but he has the talent and the speed right now. But I am very happy with my second place finish today," said Fayed.
It was another perfect day of racing in the dolomite valley as blue skies and perfect snow greeted the downhillers. Despite a lack of snow in Central Europe, the field was highly complimentary of the Organisiing Committee’s preparations of the course.
A scary moment came when Matthias Mayer (AUT) had a had crash and had to be airlifted from the course. Reports were he was conscious when he was evacuated, but no further details were available about the extend of his injuries.
The Giro Italia continues for the Audi FIS World Cup tour when they move up the valley to Alta Badia (ITA) for two races. Tomorrow will be the traditional giant slalom with the first run starting at 9:30. It will be followed on Monday by the highly-anticipated debut of the parallel giant slalom, which will be staged under the lights in the evening at 18:00 CET.