Maiden win for Marsaglia at Beaver Creek

Matteo Marsaglia of Italy skis past a gate on his way to winning the men's World Cup Super-G ski race in Beaver CreekMatteo Marsaglia of Italy skis past a gate on his way to winning the men’s World Cup Super-G ski race in Beaver Creek, Colorado, December 1, 2012. (REUTERS/Mike Segar)

By Manuele Lang

BEAVER CREEK, Colorado, Dec 1 (Reuters) – Italy’s Matteo Marsaglia snatched his maiden World Cup victory in a men’s Super-G at Beaver Creek on Saturday and warned more was to come.

The 27-year-old Italian, who had never previously made it to a World Cup podium, clocked one minute and 14.68 seconds to emulate compatriot Christof Innerhofer, winner of Friday’s downhill on the same Birds of Prey course.

“Yesterday, Innerhofer won – same team, same skis and same skiman. I think it’s only the beginning of a great season,” said Marsaglia, who had scored his best result by finishing fourth in a Super-G at the Schladming World Cup finals in March.

The Roman-born speed specialist beat pre-race favorite and current World Cup leader Aksel Lund Svindal, who had to be content with second place for the second day running, 0.27 seconds behind.

“Wow what a day, I can’t really believe it. I was there waiting for the others to go down in front of the leader’s board and when I saw that I beat Svindal’s time I just couldn’t believe it,” said Marsaglia.

“It’s just mad. It’s my first victory. I narrowly missed out in Schladming when I finished fourth but I knew my skiing was good. I kept working on my strengths this summer and the confidence was there.”

Svindal, who won both races in Lake Louise last weekend, broke clear in the race for the big globe, leading American giant slalom world champion Ted Ligety by 140 points.

“Two wins in Lake Louise, two second places here, I think it’s pretty good,” the Norwegian said. “I was again pretty lucky today. I again needed to work hard not to go out. Once again, I was going too fast.”

The last place on the podium went to Austria’s Hannes Reichelt, 0.70 seconds off the pace.

Ligety confirmed his progression in speed events by missing the podium by 0.04 seconds, finishing fourth as he did in the first Super G of the season.

The race was marred by several crashes, the most serious involving Max Franz, runner-up in the Lake Louise downhill a week ago.

The Austrian collided with a gate at the end of jump and violently hit the canvas, briefly losing consciousness.

He was taken to hospital in Vail for checks with bruises to his face but his legs and arms were unhurt, Austrian team spokesman Markus Aichner said.

“Max is with us again, he’s conscious. He jumped into a gate and probably lost consciousness straightaway. It’s too early to say anything about his injuries,” Austrian coach Mathias Berthold said.

Team morale was affected, he said.

World Cup holder Marcel Hischer, who will be the leading favorite with Ligety in Sunday’s giant slalom, stayed in the coaches’ room after the crash in shock.

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