Alpine Skiing - Svindal retains downhill globe but big one still elusive

Aksel Lund Svindal earned some consolation after his Olympic woes when he deservedly retained the downhill World Cup yet his ambitions for the overall big globe took a blow on his home slopes of Kvitfjell.

Alpine Skiing - Svindal retains downhill globe but big one still elusive

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Fifth in Friday's downhill on the piste of the Lillehammer Olympics and sixth on Saturday, the local favourite was hoping to score more points to fend off the challenge of overall World Cup holder Marcel Hirscher of Austria with only seven races left before the end of the season.

"The races in Kvitfjell were not exactly what I was expecting for I would have liked to be on the podium," said Svindal, who has another chance to increase his tally in Sunday's Super-G.

While the Norwegian tops the overall standings with a 27-point lead over Hirscher, the Austrian is expected to close the gap next weekend in Kranjska Gora with a slalom and a giant slalom on the schedule while the Lenzerheide finals do not look like favouring either of the two contenders for the season's honours.

At least Svindal, winner of two big globes in 2007 and 2009 and eight speciality World Cups in his career, can be content with the downhill laurels.

"For sure the downhill standings is a big goal for a skier. I was very stable in the season and that's what brings titles. It's been a very good year in downhill for sure," he said.

A very good year except at the Sochi alpine resort of Rosa Khutor where he missed the Winter Games podium by 0.19 seconds to finish fourth.


But a third overall title would be more than a consolation for the burly 31-year-old all-rounder.

"The biggest thing you can win is the overall because that's the best skier in the world. The standings and also the (discipline) titles, they're all through the season.

"You take away outside factors like the weather, good luck or bad luck. When you win the titles, you worked hard for it and you deserve it.

"At the Olympics and world championships, the moment when you cross the line and you win a medal is a big moment. The World Cup is a lot of hard work for the whole winter and medal events are just a moment of happiness," he said.

Saturday's downhill was actually revenge after Olympic disappointments for the day's winner Erik Guay of Canada and second-placed Frenchman Johan Clarey.

Guay, the 2011 world champion who was often close to Olympic podiums in the past, was a below-par 10th in Sochi after hurting his knee in a crash in Wengen and his victory in one minute and 22.17 seconds was a sign of his strength of character.

"I was frustrated as I felt I was skiing as good as anybody else this season. Then I had that crash and I hurt my knee and I could not train or was skiing in pain. I didn't have that much confidence.

"But Norway is a place I always liked and there you are. Once I went home and I took a break with my family I was motivated again," he said.

It was even more the case for Carey, a vastly talented Frenchman plagued by injuries, who crashed out of the Olympic downhill after only a few gates.

For Olympic champion Matthias Mayer, the day was also ideal to set the record straight and show he was no one-hit wonder by clinching gold in Sochi.

The Austrian took third place, 0.57 behind Guay for his first World Cup podium in the discipline.

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