WENGEN, Switzerland – Today’s Audi FIS World Cup Alpine Combined race in Wengen (SUI) definitely favored the downhill specialists as Norwegians Kjetil Jansrud and Aksel Lund Svindal out-paced the rest of the field followed by French speed specialist Adrien Theaux.
“You’re at the start and you try and push it. That’s what I did, you have to be aggressive going in, but I never know what to expect” said Jansrud. His slalom run was far from perfect, especially in the last pitch, but he managed to stay in the race and won it.
“I think I pulled of a pretty good run on the top and the middle section and suddenly I kicked off in the last third there and I felt like I wasn’t going to save it, but somehow I found my new outside ski and managed to fight my way to the bottom. That made me quite surprised when I came in and saw the green light, so that was a happy moment. It’s pretty sweet.”
Svindal led all racers after the downhill portion of the program, topping Theaux by 0.72 seconds. Jansurd wasn’t far off the pace, ending in third place only 0.90 seconds behind his countryman. Unfortunately for the technical specialists, the downhill skiers were simply too fast in the first run as the gap for most racers was well over one second, and in many cases more than two seconds.
The big difference gave the speed skiers the slight advantage in the slalom run as the relatively flat course worked to their advantage. Jansrud clocked in nearly a second faster than Svindal and edging his teammate by a slim 0.04 seconds. Theaux was also faster than Svindal in the slalom, but could not make up enough time and ultimately finished 0.13 behind the Norwegian duo.
“I had a big margin from the downhill and that’s definitely what secured the podium” said Svindal. “It was a bit of a bonus today, a double victory for Norway, we didn’t really expect that.”
“Some days are good, some days not, but today was OK in slalom” said Théaux, before mentioning one point that definitively helped to reach the podium today: “The slope was really good and the snow was perfect for us because when you are a downhiller and you start 29 or 30, sometimes the snow is not good, but today was very good so I’m very happy.”
The result tightened the race for the Overall World Cup globe. Marcel Hirscher (AUT) still leads with 801 points, but Svindal isn’t far behind with 716 points. Two more Norwegians sit in third and fourth place with slalom ace Henrik Kristoffersen in third place with 571 points and Jansrud in fourth place overall with 511 points.
There will be two additional Alpine Combined races this season (Kitzbuehel, Chamonix) as FIS will award a crystal globe for the discipline this year. With the results from today’s race favoring the speed racers, it could make the battle for the Overall Globe an exciting one that comes down the World Cup finals in St. Moritz.
But first and foremost on the racers minds are the next two days of action in Wengen, as there is something for everyone with the famed Lauberhorn downhill scheduled for Saturday, followed by the slalom race on Sunday.