Svindal grabs third and Jansrud fourth in Chamonix Super Combined
It was a race of swings and roundabouts as well as mixed emotions for the HEAD racers. Aksel Lund Svindal put together an encouraging downhill section of the two run race to be just eight hundredths off the lead with Johan Clarey just over four tenths behind Swiss racer Beat Feuz. With the Super Combined discipline leader, Ivica Kostelic, two and a half seconds off the pace, Svindal was primed for a strong run going into the slalom section.
Kjetil Jansrud was the first of the HEAD racers to attack the slalom section and he put in world class performance. Jansrud took a commanding lead from those racers down. Kostelic, who felt that he was “in a pretty hopeless position after the downhill,” attacked and edged out Jansrud from the lead. But with Svindal still to go, the questions were being asked as to whether he could hold on.
After a better run in the downhill than in the main race, Hans Olsson, put down a solid and composed Slalom run to move up from his fifteenth spot in the downhill section to eventually place twelfth. Jansrud was still in touch and holding on to a podium spot. His slalom had rescued his weekend and this was a high point for him from the weekend. “My downhill has not been good,” he explained, “but the slalom has been positive.”
With the fastest three from the Downhill section to go, Jansrud was holding good in third. Clarey was the first of the three to go and while he favours the speed events, “the top was good,” he explained. “But then I made a mistake and was out,” he continued. Still Jansrud held on to a podium spot.
For Aksel Lund Svindal, this was a race he really wanted to win. Holding a commanding advantage over Kostelic from the downhill, Svindal wanted the win. The top was looking good and although the lead had been cut, it was still positive for the Norwegian HEAD racer. Again by the second split as he neared the finish, Svindal held the lead but a mistake had cut it even more. The tension for those watching was rising.
By the time he crossed the line, Svindal was in third behind the two Croatians (Kostelic and Zrncic-Dim). “I wanted to take advantage of this chance as they do not happen often,” Svindal commented after the race. “After the downhill I thought that I had the chance to win but my slalom was not good enough,” he continued. “I will continue to focus on each race and prepare for each race and do my best,” explained Svindal who was still happy with third place.
With the complete Women’s programme n Sestriere cancelled due to the weather, the female HEAD Speedoholics, were unable to add to their growing stature as the skiers to beat. It is known that the races will not be rescheduled before the World Championships now.
1. Ivica Kostelic
2. Natko Zrncic-Dim
3. Aksel Lund Svindal (NOR) HEAD
4. Kjetil Jansrud (NOR) HEAD
12. Hans Olsson (SWE) HEAD
27. Guillermo Fayed (FRA) HEAD