Svindal finishes 9th in Super G

The Face de Bellevarde slope in Val d’Isere, France didn’t make many friends during last season’s FIS World Championships, but she was singing today (Dec. 11) under sunny skies as the men of the alpine World Cup were tested in a super combined.

After the Swiss took early control of the season, it was all Austria today as the men in red took three of four podium spots.

“Our racers did everything right. The important thing now is to continue the good work,” Austrian head coach Hans Pum told reporters.

Austrian Benjamin Raich (fourth after the super G) turned it on with the fastest run in the slalom, securing the win with a combined time of 2:07.71. Teammate Marcel Hirscher was .89 seconds off the pace to finish second. Another Austrian, Romeh Baumann and, Italy’s Manfred Moelgg (2:09.26) rounded out the podium tied for third.

“I think I had a very good slalom run. I am very satisfied,” said Raich, who brought the Austrian team it’s second win of the season and moved past Swiss Didier Cuch to claim the second World Cup overall spot below Carlo Janka. Raich also won last season’s super combined in Val d’Isere.

“This is very good for all of us,” Hirscher told Reuters. “I didn’t expect Benni (Raich) would be so strong and I surprised myself a little bit as well. I can feel I’m getting nearer and nearer to victory.”

American Bode Miller, ninth after the super G, exorcised his combined demons and put down a complete slalom run that was good enough for fifth.

“It was tough,” said Miller who fought poor light conditions during the slalom. “Today didn’t feel very good for anyone I don’t think, but it was important today to get some points. I hadn’t scored at all last year, so we need to get our spots back and get back into the top 30.”

“I pushed just hard enough and got the job done,” continued Miller who admitted he got tired towards the end of the super G. “The skiing comes along okay, but the fitness is still a big problem.”

Repeating his performance in the Beaver Creek combined, American Ted Ligety loaded up his ski and went for a brief flight halfway through the course.

“Today I didn’t feel like I was fully in the rhythm but I think this is a really good hill for me especially for tomorrow in the real super G race,” said Ligety.

The only other American to race today, Andrew Wiebrecht, was unable to finish the super G portion of the race.

Janka slipped from his perfect performance in Beaver Creek last weekend (three for three), blowing his second-fastest time in the super G as he struggled right out of the gate and slid off course about a quarter of the way down.

Michael Janyk (35th) was the only Canadian to finish the race.

World Cup racing continues tomorrow (Dec.12) in Val d’Isere with a super G.

Images by Gepa

The SCOOP

By Hank McKee

Equipment

Men’s super combined, Val d’Isere, France, Dec. 11, 2009

Skier, skis/boots/bindings

1 Raich, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic

2 Hirscher, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic

3 Moelgg, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer

3 Baumann, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon

5 Miller, Head/Head/Tyrolia

6 Larsson, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic

7 Viletta, Nordica/Nordica/Marker

8 Kostelic, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer

9 Svindal, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic

10 Zurbriggen, Rossignol/Lange/Rossignol

Men’s super Combined, Val d’Isere, France, Dec. 11, 2009. … It is the eighth race of the men’s 35 race 2009-2010 World Cup schedule. … The second of four scheduled combineds.

It is the 35th career World Cup victory for Raich. … His seventh in combined and his second in combined at Val d’Isere having also won at the site last season. … It is his first victory of the season, and third podium having also been second in SG at Lake Louise and in GS at Beaver Creek. … It is the third Austrian win of the season.

It is the fourth career World Cup podium for Marcel Hirscher. … and his career best Cup result having been third in his other three podium placings. … He has two combined podiums and two slalom podiums. … His other cmb podium was also at Val d’Isere last season.

It is the 14th career World Cup podium for Manfred Moelgg. … His first in combined. … His other podiums are mostly in slalom, two were GS’s. … It is his first Cup podium at Val d’Isere. … It is the third career World Cup podium for Romed Baumann, all of them coming in combined.

It is the 95th career World Cup top five for Bode Miller. … His second of the season having been fourth in the Beaver Creek DH. … It is his 14th career World Cup top five in combined. … His eighth top five World Cup result at Val d’Isere.

Carlo Janka (DNF) maintains the lead of the World Cup overall standings 460-381 over Raich. … Didier Cuche (did not start slalom) sits third at 355. … Ted Ligety (DNF SL) remains the top American on the standings list in seventh with 175. … Manuel Osborne-Paradis (did not start either leg)  is the top Canadian in 13th at 118.  … Raich leads the combined standings 136-105 over Romed Baumann.

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