By Patrick Lang
KVITFJELL, Norway, March 3 (Reuters) – Norway’s Aksel Lund Svindal finally won a race in his homeland on Sunday, with victory in a super-G that also gave him the World Cup title in the discipline.
The downhill world champion, who had been on the lower steps of the podium seven times before on the course of the 1994 Lillehammer Olympics, made the top spot at last in one minute 29.79 seconds.
Thanks to his fifth win of the Alpine ski season, the super-G Olympic champion also secured the ninth World Cup trophy of his career.
“It’s fabulous to win the race and the super-G World Cup in front of my home crowd and my father, who was here to see me,” Svindal told reporters.
“Unlike at the world championships, the number 22 bib brought me luck,” added the Norwegian, who had to settle for the bronze medal at the worlds in Schladming last month.
Austria’s Georg Streitberger was second in the race, 0.52 adrift, ahead of Italian Werner Heel, who was a further 0.05 back.
Svindal, second in Saturday’s downhill behind Frenchman Adrien Theaux, increased the pressure on overall World Cup leader Marcel Hirscher of Austria, whom he trails by 29 points with seven races left.
“Hirscher, the way he is skiing this season, can score 180 points next weekend in Kranjska Gora so he remains the clear favourite,” Svindal said.
In 2007, Svindal earned the first of his two overall titles by winning three of the five races at the World Cup finals but he said it would be hard for him to repeat the feat in Lenzerheide two weeks from now.
“I’m not at the same level I was then in the giant slalom but it’s already great fun to remain in contention so close to the end of the season. It will be a nice fight” he said.