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Svindal defends super-combi gold at Worlds

In the end Aksel Lund Svindal made the Italians – silver medal winner Christof Innerhofer and bronze medalist Peter Fill – look like pretenders, claiming the gold medal of the World Championship super combined by an outstanding 1.01 seconds. But the Italians weren’t complaining.

It was the second straight combined gold in World Championship competition for Svindal, having also claimed the top prize in 2009, but it was his first medal of these championships in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany and it was well earned.

The Italians were joyful. Fill tossed his ski poles high in air as he recognized his time and Innerhofer held his slalom skis aloft, celebrating his third medal of these championships, an unlikely circumstance from a man with one World Cup win to his credit and the two Italians quickly surrounded Svindal in the finish, anxious to pose for photographers.

The Americans had a rough go.

Tim Jitloff had made a costly mistake in the downhill and pushed gamely from the second start of the slalom to make up a nine second deficit with predictable results. He put up the third fastest slalom run on the day, but wound up tied for 14th, the only U.S. finish.

“I knew I had an opportunity to have a good clean run and I did and I made some points, nothing super exciting but at least it helps me for the next races,” said Jitloff. 

Ted Ligety had a decent downhill (11th) and was definitely full-out
attack in the slalom, but exited about half way down.

“I just straddled, that’s kind of been the story of my life in slalom,” said Ligety, adding that had he finished his chances wouldn’t have been that good. “I’m pretty surprised by how well Peter and Christof and Aksel skied the slalom portion. When you are three seconds out you have no chance when those guys are skiing that well in the slalom.”

Bode Miller showed he can exit a race course with as much flamboyence as anyone, flying past the second gate on the slalom hill horizonal to the ground, his skis above his head.

“Bode didn’t have the best downhill run,” said coach Sasha Rearick. “He was cutting off the line too much and going too straight forward for what the conditions could allow.”

Canada did not have a man entered.

With the downhill leg of the race run an hour earlier than the men’s downhill on Saturday – going off at 10am versus 11 – and with a clear night allowing radiant cooling, the Kandahar course was icy and fast. It was a touch smoother than it had been for earlier training runs, but those ragged runs had already had their effect on the combined field. Many skiers had opted out, including Ivica Kostelic, already the World Cup combined champ with three wins in three eveents. The start list for the combined numbered 41 and that dropped to 34 after the downhill.

The slalom leg, across town, started at 2pm and long shadows crossed sections, but by no stretch, all of the steep Gudiberg hill. By the final racers the slalom hill did show rutting, but it held up well.

With much of the field charging trying to make the top three, Svindal, with a large first run lead, was one of few who could afford to take a tactical approach.

“I saw that some took too much risk,” he said “and I tried to ski a little tactically, but I knew some were very quick and I knew I would have to have a good race from top to bottom.”

The gold medal was his fourth in World Championship competition and fifth total, plus he owns a trio of Olympic medals, one in each color. “You always try your best,” he said. I tried my best in the downhill and the super G, too, and it didn’t work out. The third time, it did.”

For Innerhofer, the silver medal completed the cycle for these championships, combined with gold in the super G and bronze in downhill. He said the slalom course set, by Italian coach Massimo Carca had been to his benefit. “I looked at the course and saw I had a chance. … The course was very well set, fast and when it is fast you have to risk and I am good at risks.” Still, he said, “when I saw the results I was surprised. I could hardly believe it.”

The medal for Fill was in some ways the most meaningful of any in these championships. With his father struggling to survive in hospital he dedicated the medal to him. “My mom, my sisters and dad love each other very much and when one suffers we all suffer,” he said. “This was the last time I was going to compete and I gave it my best shot and tried to grab a medal for my dad. I hope this will make him happier, and better, too.”

There were strong efforts put forth by a myriad of racers with solid combined backgrounds. Benjamin Raich, with the hearts of Austrian fans once again heaped on his back, had a good downhill (12th) and a great slalom leg (2nd fastest) but got jammed off the podium by the Italians and Svindal to finish fourth and Czech Ondrej Bank fought hard for his country’s first men’s medal but finished fifth. -HM

By Hank McKee
Men’s World Championship super combined, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, German, Feb. 14, 2011

Skier, skis/boots/bindings
1 Svindal, Head/Head/Head
2 Innerhofer, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
3 Fill, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
4 Raich, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
5 Bank, Elan/Nordica/Elan
6 Pangrazzi, Rossignol/Lange/Rossignol
7 Myhre, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
8 Zrncic-Dim, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
9 Romar, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
10 Jansrud, Head/Head/Head

Men’s World Championship super-combined, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, Feb. 14, 2011. … It is the sixth of 11 events scheduled during the 41st World Ski Championships and the third of five men’s competitions. … It is the 71st combined in World Championship competition.

It is the sixth World Championship medal for Aksel Lund Svindal. … He won gold in downhill and GS at Are 2007 and combined at Val d’Isere (2009) and here. … He won silver in combined at Bormio (2005) and bronze in super G at Val d’Isere. … He also owns one Olympic medal of each color: gold in super G, silver downhill and bronze GS at Whistler (2010). … He has 14 World Cup victories, just one in combined at Beaver Creek 2006.

It is the third medal in three events at these World Championships for Christof Innerhofer. … He won gold in super G and bronze in downhill. … His best World Cup result in combined is third at Sestriere Feb. 22, 2009.

It is the second career World Championship medal for Peter Fill who won silver in super G at Val d’Isere (2009). … He has never won a World Cup combined, but placed second at Wengen in 2009 and third at Wengen in 2006.

It is a career best of four World Championship results for Tim Jitloff. … He has just a single World Cup combined result, a 24th from Wengen this season.

Medal Count
Austria 4 (3 gold, 1 silver)
Italy 4 (1 gold, 1 silver, 2 bronze)
Canada 1 (1 gold)
Norway 1 (1 gold)
USA 2 (2 silver)
Slovenia 1 (1 silver)
Switzerland 2 (2 bronze)
Germany 2 (2 bronze)
Croatia 1 (1 bronze)
Sweden 1 (1 bronze)

Rank Bib FIS Code Name Year Nation Run 1 Run 2 Total Time FIS Points
 1  21  421328 SVINDAL Aksel Lund  1982  NOR   1:59.49  55.02  2:54.51  0.00
 2  22  293006 INNERHOFER Christof  1984  ITA   2:00.67  54.85  2:55.52  6.54
 3  15  292455 FILL Peter  1982  ITA   2:00.83  55.58  2:56.41  12.30
 4  17  50625 RAICH Benjamin  1978  AUT   2:02.50  54.18  2:56.68  14.05
 5  7  150398 BANK Ondrej  1980  CZE   2:01.00  55.90  2:56.90  15.48
 6  10  294904 PANGRAZZI Paolo  1988  ITA   2:02.66  54.69  2:57.35  18.39
 7  2  421400 MYHRE Lars Elton  1984  NOR   2:03.39  54.11  2:57.50  19.36
 8  13  380292 ZRNCIC-DIM Natko  1986  CRO   2:03.25  54.46  2:57.71  20.72
 9  26  180570 ROMAR Andreas  1989  FIN   2:01.19  56.86  2:58.05  22.92
 10  16  421483 JANSRUD Kjetil  1985  NOR   2:02.56  55.86  2:58.42  25.32
 11  6  90131 GEORGIEV Georgi  1987  BUL   2:02.74  56.12  2:58.86  28.17
 12  12  51327 PUCHNER Joachim  1987  AUT   2:03.26  55.70  2:58.96  28.81
 13  28  53853 SIEBER Bjoern  1989  AUT   2:03.49  55.95  2:59.44  31.92
 14  39  910004 DEFLORIAN Mirko  1980  MDA   2:04.00  56.29  3:00.29  37.43
 14  1  534959 JITLOFF Tim  1985  USA   2:06.02  54.27  3:00.29  37.43
 16  3  491129 TERRA Ferran  1987  SPA   2:03.70  57.31  3:01.01  42.09
 17  4  150495 VRABLIK Martin  1982  CZE   2:05.97  55.51  3:01.48  45.13
 18  30  380298 SIROKI Tin  1987  CRO   2:04.74  56.78  3:01.52  45.39
 19  34  700724 BABUSIAK Jaroslav  1984  SVK   2:05.93  56.37  3:02.30  50.44
 20  33  660021 DANILOCHKIN Yuri  1991  BLR   2:04.63  57.74  3:02.37  50.90
 21  5  20267 ESTEVE RIGAIL Kevin  1989  AND   2:01.81  1:00.72  3:02.53  51.93
 22  31  92534 CHONGAROV Nikola  1989  BUL   2:03.79  59.15  3:02.94  54.59
 23  36  710320 LAIKERT Igor  1991  BIH   2:09.43  58.35  3:07.78  85.93
 24  32  700868 FALAT Matej  1993  SVK   2:10.63  59.20  3:09.83  99.20
 25  40  690086 FESHCHUK Rostyslav  1990  UKR   2:09.86  1:01.36  3:11.22  108.20
 26  41  670029 PIMENOV Taras  1984  KAZ   2:11.40  1:02.86  3:14.26  127.89
 27  35  430472 KLUSAK Michal  1990  POL   2:05.58  1:14.54  3:20.12  165.83
 28  23  20174 VIDOSA Roger  1984  AND   2:04.89  1:20.36  3:25.25  199.05
Did not finish 2nd run
   38  670058 KOSHKIN Dmitriy  1986  KAZ         
   19  532431 MILLER Bode  1977  USA         
   18  510890 ZURBRIGGEN Silvan  1981  SUI         
   11  511383 FEUZ Beat  1987  SUI         
   9  291459 PARIS Dominik  1989  ITA         
   8  534562 LIGETY Ted  1984  USA         
Did not finish 1st run
   37  550022 RODE Roberts  1987  LAT         
   29  220874 BALDWIN TJ  1990  GBR         
   27  380290 SAMSAL Dalibor  1985  CRO         
   25  30149 SIMARI BIRKNER Cristian Javier  1980  ARG         
   24  430429 BYDLINSKI Maciej  1988  POL         
   20  51215 BAUMANN Romed  1986  AUT         
   14  501076 OLSSON Hans  1984  SWE         

Hank McKee

Senior Editor

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