Svindal wins Wengen downhill Ski World Cup first time

WENGEN, Switzerland – Aksel Lund Svindal (NOR) was the king of the Lauberhorn downhill race in Wengen (SUI) today as he raced to his sixth victory of the season, topping Hannes Reichelt (AUT) by 0.19 seconds. Rounding out the podium was Klaus Kroell (AUT).

It was a tricky day on the Audi FIS World Cup tour, with the weather challenging the Organisers. In the morning, heavy snow was falling and the decision was made to lower the start to the Alpine combination start. The sun came out just in time for the race, but after about 20 skiers, a dense fog rolled in midway down the mountain, forcing a lengthy delay.

Svindal came down wearing bib 18 and skied through the start of the fog, but it had little effect on him as he was nearly flawless on the run and crushed the rest of the field. Reichelt was the next skier and also put in an excellent effort and looked very happy to land 0.19 seconds behind Svindal. It was Reichelt’s second podium of the season as he also finished in second place in the Santa Caterina downhill.

“It was hard today, but I just focused on finding the best line and skiing a clean run,” said Svindal. “It feels good, I’ve been chasing Wengen for a while. Been fast here but didn’t really have the margins on my side but it was nice to pull it off today.”

Before the Svindal and Reichelt came down with the top times, Kroell held the lead for most of the race, but he ended up finishing 1.52 seconds behind Svindal. Despite the large margin, Kroell was still happy with the podium finish, his first since 2013 in Lake Louise.

“It was good enough today, and I’m happy with how everything worked ou. It was a long time ago, the last time I was on the podium, so I’m very happy with the result today. The difference today was I made no mistakes, my skiing was really good. Confidence is back for sure,” said Kroell.

His teammate Reichelt was equally happy to be on the podium, “I can say I love this hill and this slope. Today was really a tough race with the visibility. I was really on the limit from the start to the finish area. I think it was one of my best runs, but Aksel had a better one. Second place today is a good result for me.”

The race was halted two races after Reichelt, just before Kjetil Jansrud (NOR) was due to start to allow the fog bank to clear. It was tough for Jansrud, and the rest of the skiers at the top, to contend after the long delay as he finished well out of contention after winning yesterday’s Alpine combined. Today, it was Austria’s turn to put two skiers on the podium,something that hasn’t happened at a speed event this season because of the Norwegian dominance.

Today was Svindal’s eighth podium of the season as he finds himself in a duel with tech specialist Marcel Hirscher (AUT) in the hunt for the overall globe. Helping in Svindal’s hunt are his unexpected points coming in yesterday’s Alpine combined, where he finished in second place and also his second place finish in the Parallel Giant Slalom in Alta Badia (ITA)

The Wengen weekend will conclude tomorrow with a slalom race scheduled to begin at 10:30 CET.