Viking raid in Val Gardena as Norwegians sweep super G
The winning ways of Norway’s Aksel Lund Svindal continued as the Attacking Viking captured the Val Gardena super G for the fourth time in his career and fourth victory this season with a winning time of 1:28.12 seconds. Following Svindal in second and third, respectively, were two of his countrymen, Kjetil Jansrud and Aleksander Aamodt Kilde, marking the third ever Norwegian World Cup podium sweep and first ever in super G.
Starting with bib four, Kilde was poised for a breakout result on a course set by Norwegian team coach Franz Gamper after turing heads with impressive attack-from-the-back performances in Lake Louise and Beaver Creek. With the Golden Earring’s 1973 hit “Radar Love” blaring over the finish line speakers as he kicked out of the starting gate, Kilde wasn’t going to let an opportunity like this slip through his fingers.
Crossing the finish with a healthy lead of just under one full second, Kilde held on as skier after skier failed to match his dominant performance, especially on the top interval of the course. That is until Svindal, wearing bib 21, pushed out of the start.
In typical Svindal style, this time with AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck” providing the soundtrack, he made the course look effortless, crossing the line 0.44 seconds ahead of Kilde.
Immediately following Svindal was Jansrud, who, with a mistake that may have cost him the victory as Steppenwolf’s rock anthem “Born to be Wild” filled the air, crossed the line 0.34 seconds back, giving the Norwegians their first-ever super G podium trifecta.
A result like this not only makes history for Norway, but may also lead one to conclude that the finish stadium’s DJ is obviously clairvoyant, or at the very least chose three fitting classic rock anthems to help the Attacking Vikings do what they do best – attack.
“I saw Aleks skied really good, so I knew it would be hard to beat him, but yeah, that’s cool,” Svindal said of the sweep. “Coming in, he’s still leading and I’m ahead and Kjetil comes and he’s in second. Perfect day for Norway.”
Speaking of his season as a spectator last year, Svindal expressed his happiness to be back at it on the World cup – and with a vengeance, none the less.
“I had a lot of time to, let’s say, prepare,” he said. “Obviously, last year I was watching from the sidelines. Now I’m back, and it’s fun to be racing again.”
Although getting beat out by his teammate may be a slight disappointment, for Jansrud there was plenty to smile about as this result indicates that he is back to form following some inconsistent results to start the season.
“You can never be unhappy with a second place, for sure. I’m very happy,” Jansrud told reporters in the finish. “It feels sort of impossible to beat Aksel these days, but that was the position I was in last year. You get the snowball rolling and it just keeps on rolling, hats off to him. I can’t be unhappy on a day like this. With my mistake, which means I would have been very close to Aksel, I’m in the position where I want to be. There are going to be more chances for me. And for Norway, it’s the best day we’ve ever had in super G and the speed disciplines.”
Kilde’s career day was made all the more sweeter by being able to share the podium with not only his countrymen, but also his mentors.
“It’s always fun to travel around with them because they are so serious and they are so experienced and good,” Kilde told SkiRacing.com prior to the Beaver Creek races. “They know exactly what to do at any time, I feel like. When I’m traveling around with them, I learn a lot of things not only on the hill, but also with equipment, handling the media, everything. I can ask them and I know exactly what I’ll get back, a good answer.”
“I’ve been working hard with both of the guys through the whole training period and I feel really proud to be on the podium with them today, my first podium, and sharing it with the two best skiers in the world is amazing,” Kilde said in the finish. “It’s such a perfect day. It’s a day we are never going to forget, we just have to take it with us to the next races coming up and we’ll see how it goes.”
All three Norwegians were asked what the secret to their success was today, with Jansrud summing it up in simple terms, providing a valuable lesson for young ski racers everywhere.
“I think the biggest secret in sports is working hard, and that’s why it’s a secret,” he explained. “There is nothing special we do, we work hard, train a lot, and try to push each other in training and take small steps to get better every day. There’s always a bit of talent in it, too. Aleksander has shown himself to be a very eager boy, always in the background trying to gain some experience and to learn from Aksel. He’s a smart kid, then it’s just a matter of time before you’re on the podium. It’s as easy as that.”
If it wasn’t for a wayward turn entering the Camel Humps section of the course, American Andrew Weibrecht could have very well spoiled the Norwegian podium party. Instead he settled for a solid fifth-place finish, 1.01 seconds off the pace.
Carrying serious speed from the top of the course, Weibrecht caught air over a blind roll, pushing him well wide of his intended line on the critical steep-to-flat section of the trail. However, by pushing it on the rest of the course he managed to claw back much of his lost time, leaving those watching to wonder what might have been.
“Pretty big mistake at the top, I was quite a bit out. I just charged pretty hard the rest of the way,” Weibrecht said. “I knew that I needed to make time up. I skied really well the rest of the trip down. It’s just when you make a mistake like that, it kind of takes you out of contention. I was disappointed, but it was still good skiing and it’s a good continuation of what I started in North America. For me to have a decent result here says a lot about where my skiing is at right now.”
Three other Americans managed scoring results with Travis Ganong in 19th, Jared Goldberg in 21st, and Steven Nyman in 28th.
Nyman is no doubt looking forward to tomorrow, where he will defend his downhill title on the Saslong from last season, and looks to be in good position to take his fourth career victory following two strong training runs. However, with how today’s results turned out, the Attacking Vikings might have a thing or two to say about all that.
The downhill from Val Gardena is slated for a 12:15 p.m. CET start time, with live streaming available on NBC Live Extra for verified viewers in the United States.
View more photos from this race here.
Fans can stay current on the World Cup circuit by downloading the new U.S. Ski Team iOS app powered by Ski Racing here.
By Hank McKee
1 Svindal, Head/Head/Head
2 Jansrud, Head/Head/Head
3 Kilde, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
4 Mayer, Head/Head/Head
5 Weibrecht, Head/Head/Head
6 Theaux, Head/Head/Head
7 Streitberger, Head/Head/Head
8 Schweiger, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
8 Paris, Nordica/Nordica
10 Kriechmayr, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
- Men’s World Cup super G, Val Gardena/Groeden, Italy, Dec. 18, 2015. … It is the 48th Saslong Classic. … It is the ninth of 45 races on the men’s World Cup schedule … the third of eight super Gs. … It is the 79th World Cup race hosted at Val Gardena … the 14th super G. … Norwegians have won the last three SGs on the track, Aksel Lund Svindal in December of ’12 and ’13 and Kjetil Jansrud in ’14.
- Last Norwegian podium sweeps came Jan. 30, 1994 in combined at Chamonix with Kjetil Andre Aamodt, Lasse Kjus and Harald Strand Nilsen going one-two-three respectively and at Yong Pyong, Korea, March 1, 1998 in slalom: Ole Kristian Furuseth, Finn Christian Jagge and Tom Stiansen. … Winning margin is 0.34. … Top four are with the same second. …. Top 22 within two seconds.
- It is the 29th career World Cup win for Aksel Lund Svindal … his 14th in super G, good for fifth all time. … It is his fourth win, all in SG, at Val Gardena. … It is his fourth win of the season and second in SG.
- It is the 27th career World Cup podium for Kjetil Jansrud … his 11th in super G, and his fifth at Val Gardena. … It is his second podium of the season.
- It is the first career World Cup podium for Aleksander Aamodt Kilde in 13 completed races. … He is the 2014 Norwegian national super G champion.
- Andrew Weibrecht matches his second best career placing and second best placing of the season after a podium at Beaver Creek’s SG. … It is the third best placing of the season for Erik Guay. … It is the seventh best career SG mark for Travis Ganong. … It is the seventh best of 14 career World Cup scoring finishes for Jared Goldberg and his first score of the season. … It is the 18th scoring result in super G for Steven Nyman, his fourth at Val Gardena.
- Marcel Hirscher (did not race) leads the World Cup overall standings 440-417 over Svindal. … Jansrud is third at 247pts. … Ted Ligety (did not race) is sixth with 191pts and Travis Ganong ninth at 184pts.
- Svindal leads the super G standings 210-130 over Matthias Mayer. … Aleksander Aamodt Kilde is third with 122pts. … Andrew Weibrecht is sixth with 110pts.
- Austria leads the men’s Nations Cup 1472-1075 over Norway. … Italy is third at 994. … The U.S. is fifth with 717 points and Canada eighth with 161.
|Rank||Bib||FIS Code||Name||Year||Nation||Total Time||Diff.||FIS Points|
|1||21||421328||SVINDAL Aksel Lund||1982||NOR||1:28.12||0.00|
|3||4||422139||KILDE Aleksander Aamodt||1992||NOR||1:28.56||+0.44||5.39|
|31||48||422310||SEJERSTED Adrian Smiseth||1994||NOR||1:30.24||+2.12||25.98|
|39||42||380292||ZRNCIC DIM Natko||1986||CRO||1:30.56||+2.44||29.90|
|52||1||192504||MERMILLOD BLONDIN Thomas||1984||FRA||1:31.41||+3.29||40.32|
|56||64||110324||VON APPEN Henrik||1994||CHI||1:32.90||+4.78||58.58|
|Did not start 1st run|
|Did not finish 1st run|
|62||990116||DE ALIPRANDINI Luca||1990||ITA|