KVITFJELL, Norway, March 2 (Reuters) – France’s Adrien Theaux overcame the wind and the favorites to snatch his second victory in a World Cup downhill in Kvitfjell on Saturday.
The Frenchman, who won a downhill in Lenzerheide two seasons ago, took advantage of the changing conditions to clock the fastest time of one minute 29.10 seconds on a course shortened because of gale-force winds at the top.
“I had a good start with a podium in Lake Louise but otherwise my downhill season had been very frustrating,” the 28-year-old said.
“Luck was on my side today but why not? I had good feelings in training and that’s a course that suits me, on which you have to ski clean.”
Theaux denied local favorite Aksel Lund Svindal his first victory on the downhill course of the 1994 Olympics.
The downhill world champion finished second but is now within 129 points of Austria’s Marcel Hirscher in the overall World Cup standings.
Should he win Sunday’s super-G on home snow, Svindal would be back on Hirscher’s heels with only seven races remaining before the end of the season.
“You can’t talk of bad luck when you’re on the podium. I had the right confidence, the right approach but things like that happen,” he said.
“The most important thing for me was to be ahead of Klaus Kroell for the downhill globe. As for the big globe, I always said Hirscher remained my favourite.”
Kroell, the downhill World Cup holder, was third, half a second adrift.