Svindal wins the downhill with Jansrud in tow
BEAVER CREEK — Is this Kvitfjell? Nope, it’s Beaver Creek.
Norway made itself feel at home during Friday’s Birds of Prey World Cup downhill at Beaver Creek, as Aksel Lund Svindal threw down a commanding run to win for the fifth time on this racecourse with a time of 1 minute, 42.34 seconds. The only guy who really gave him a scare was teammate Kjetil Jansrud, who was 3-tenths of second behind.
France’s Guillermo Fayed finished with bronze and a time of 1:43.04.
Fast starts to the speed season of World Cup seem to be a Norwegian thing the last few years. Svindal is now 3-for-3 in downhill and super-G, having swept last weekend’s races up in Lake Louise, Alberta. The last racer to start a season with three straight speed wins was none other than Jansrud, who completed the same triple last winter.
For Svindal, whose last win at Birds of Prey came in 2013, it’s a particularly gratifying streak as he missed all but two races last season after rupturing his Achilles tendon.
Racing out of the 16th bib, Svindal slammed the Flyway, the gliding top portion of Birds of Prey, coming out of there with a 0.6-second lead at the time. The 2007 and 2009 World Cup champion then tamed The Brink, where the world seemingly falls away, and the Talon Turn, points on the course where the rest of the field lost time.
Ironically, Jansrud, who was ninth in the Lake Louise downhill, did have trouble up top, but managed to gain time on the lower half of the course.
France’s Fayed, who missed the podium in Canada by 4-hundredths of a second to American Travis Ganong, earned the first podium of his career at Beaver Creek.
American Andrew Weibrecht was the surprise for the hosts. “The War Horse” made some magic flying from the 34th bib to a tie for fifth place with Switzerland’s Carlo Janka. Friday’s finish will certainly help Weibrecht in his continuing quest to earn a top-30 starting position in future World Cup downills. Austria’s Hannes Reichelt, the defending super-G Birds of Prey and world champion, took fourth in Friday’s downhill.
This story will be updated.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, email@example.com and @cfreud.