Aksel Lund Svindal corrected one of the great omissions from his collection of podiums by putting in a solid downhill run and then following it up with “a pretty good slalom run.” Wengen was very mild on the morning of the race and while Italian Christof Innerhofer won the Downhill section of the race, Bode Miller, Stephan Keppler and Svindal were all handily placed in the chasing pack. With 18,000 fans lining the courses for the race, the atmosphere for the first Super Combined of the season was highly charged.
Ted Ligety and Kjetil Jansrud both stated their case for a great result in putting in secure, fast and exciting runs in the slalom. With the sun having softened up the slope all morning, the early runners had slightly better snow conditions. Ligety and Jansrud put in the second and third fastest times on the slalom section but despite this the gap was challenging to the pace set by the faster racers on the Downhill section.
Jansrud’s lead lasted a few racers before a resurgent Benni Raich usurped him and then came a majestic run from Svindal to grab the lead. “The downhill run was OK but I skied a surprisingly good slalom so that is always fun,” explained Svindal after the race. Asked how much Slalom he had trained this summer, Svindal explained that he had been training over in New Zealand in similar conditions so this could have been the basis for his good form!
The top HEAD racer after the Downhill section was Bode Miller but the great American suffered the misfortune with a buckle and he explained that he “was a little out of balance and got a little unlucky with one of his buckles coming undone and in this soft snow this was not great. I think the speed is there and with a couple of small adjustments to my skiing, the set up is really great, it is there to be had.” Miller placed sixth overall for his best regular season result so far.
With five to go Svindal held the lead but then Kostelic extended his hot streak by taking the lead down the course his father had set. Theaux and Feuz failed to nudge the top three and then Janka slipped into second. Leader after the Downhill section, Christof Innerhofer, strapped up after a morning warm up accident, came down the slalom section looking to keep his position. Two green lights as his combined time help up down the first two sections but then the speed of Svindal came to the fore and the Italian dropped down to fourth. Svindal had his first podium in Wengen!
For Rainer Salzgeber, Boss of the Speedoholic Race Team, four racers in the top nine racers was a great way to start the 81st running of the Lauberhorn weekend. The form of Didier Cuche and Stephan Keppler was also impressive in the Downhill section of the Super Combined race; this augers well for the Lauberhorn.
1 Ivica Kostelic
2 Carlo Janka
3 Aksel Lund Svindal (NOR) HEAD
6 Bode Miller (USA) HEAD
8 Kjetil Jansrud (NOR) HEAD
9 Ted Ligety (USA) HEAD
28 Dustin Cook (CAN) HEAD