Svindal attacks and beats the field into submission in Val Gardena

“I know that I am in good balance and this allows me to be able to take risks,” was how Aksel Lund Svindal described the way that he was able to win his second World Cup Super G of the season. Despite two fairly large errors heading to the finish, Svindal secured the 19th win of his World Cup career. With Kjetil Jansrud taking 4th it was a good day for the team. Matteo Marsaglia and Werner Heel joined Svindal on the podium ahead of the Norwegian Kjetil Jansrud.

“I charged hard at the top and did not make mistakes,” explained Svindal who was almost half a second ahead after the first thirty seconds. It was this section that Svindal felt laid the grounds for the win. Svindal is looking in great form in the speed events; something that he feels is down to being more stable at high speed.

With the resurgent Italians dominating in the finish with Matteo Marsaglia and Werner Heel on the podium, any hopes of a home double win started to fade with the first split. Svindal was comfortably ahead at each of the splits further down the course and despite making two major errors, one in site of the finish, the big Norwegian held on for the win.

After two years on Head skis, Werner Heel, swapped onto Atomic at the end of last season. This season has seen a rejuvenated Heel; many would say that he is almost back to his best when he was on Rossignol.  Heel himself, is feeling much more at home now and the results are coming. As he has risen back up the rankings, this has coincided with the Italian Team coming back. With both Innerhofer and Marsaglia having won this season, Heel is very much looking to add his name to the Italian winners list this season.

For Kjetil Jansrud, the day was one of mixed feelings. The Norwegian had been third last year in this race and after a great last training run in the downhill was hoping to do as well as last year: “I would be silly to say I was not happy but looking at the differences from second down to fourth, it is so close, it could have been double Norwegian on the podium. It was a decent run but I had a few small mistakes that did not make me that confident. I am not happy but still happy,” explained Jansrud after finishing fourth in the race.

While the snow fell and the light was not great, the full race took place – something that was not hopeful first thing and was worrying many of the racers for the downhill. Talk of a two run Downhill or a sprint downhill was a hot topic in the finish area for the race on Saturday.

Rainer Salzgeber, Head Race Manager, described Aksel Lund Svindal’s performance as “really impressive today. We knew that he was in really good shape and the change in the serviceman at the beginning of the year has worked really well.”

Salzgeber continued that Svindal “is a great guy for helping to develop the Head equipment. The good thing is that they are two really strong racers, him and Jansrud, and they always have the challenge in training and that helps for sure.”

With this being the second last Super G before the World Championships, racers are starting to look over their shoulders for making the qualification criteria for their national teams. Georg Streitberger from Austria knows that at the remaining Super G in Kitzbuehel at the end of January, he will have to podium if he is to guarantee his place on the Austrian team. With Joachim Puchner and Hannes Reichelt having already podiumed in Beaver Creek and Lake Louise respectively and Mathias Mayer having three results in the top seven, Streitberger knows that he needs to put a good result in. Streitberger podiumed in Kitzbuehel in 2011, so he will be hoping for more of the same this year.

While the plaudits came in from his opponents, Svindal put this win down to taking risks and because he is strong and skiing well, he knows he can get away with it: “if you push hard you make small mistakes, I would rather do that than have a really good speed than have a perfect run with no mistakes – it is all about the top speed and if its high you can allow yourself some mistakes.”