Kjetil Jansrud claims World Cup super-G title in Norway

KVITFJELL, Norway (AP) — Kjetil Jansrud claimed the World Cup super-G title in his home race Sunday as the main challengers faltered in difficult conditions.

The Norwegian completed the Olympiabakken course in 1 minute, 37.44 seconds, edging Austria’s Vincent Kriechmayr by 0.24 seconds and Canada’s Dustin Cook by 0.33 for his first title.

“It feels like a weight off my shoulders,” Jansrud told The Associated Press.

With one super-G race remaining this season, Jansrud has an unassailable 123-point lead over Italy’s Dominik Paris, 0.48 off the pace in fourth.

It was Jansrud’s third super-G win from six World Cup victories this season. He had won only three before the season started – all at Kvitfjell.

Austria’s super-G world champion Hannes Reichelt, who won the downhill on Saturday, and Olympic downhill champion Matthias Mayer both crashed out, ending their slim hopes of catching Jansrud.

More than a third of those competing — 21 skiers — didn’t finish as unseasonably warm sunshine caused unpredictable soft snow.

“My coach told me, ‘People are a little stressed out, trying to attack too much. Just stay patient,'” Jansrud said.

Patience doesn’t come easily, however, in race conditions.

“It’s tough. You need to balance the will and the aggressiveness in your skiing, and try to be smooth and ski tactically as well,” Jansrud said. “It’s a tough combination but I managed to pull it off nicely.”

Despite his rivals’ travails, Jansrud appeared to ski fearlessly, and even made up almost half a second to win after falling 0.24 behind Kriechmayr before the finish.

“I don’t feel like I skied good in sections but this also tells me it was a difficult race because everyone seems to be having a tough time.” Jansrud said, relieved at finally clinching the title.

“I could have gone into the final race knowing Reichelt was pushing me or someone else was pushing me. I’ve had the chance of really just ending that fight for a few races now,” said the 29-year-old racer.

Jansrud has a 20-point lead over Reichelt in the downhill standings with the final downhill at Meribel, France, on March 18.

“It’s way better to go into it knowing I have the super-G globe and can concentrate on not losing the downhill, because (losing) two would be a lot now,” he said. “I’m going to use this confidence, winning again and winning the globe, for the weekends to come for sure.”

The Norwegian cut the gap on overall leader Marcel Hirscher to 52 points before next Saturday’s giant slalom at Kranjska Gora, Slovenia. The GS favors the Austrian technical specialist.

“He has the chance to gain even more points,” Jansrud acknowledged. “It’s gonna be tough, but nothing is decided and he has to ski too. So I’ll just focus on myself and keep on fighting and we’ll see what the difference is at the end of (the finals in) Meribel.”

Away from the slope, a woman was to be taken to a hospital in nearby Lillehammer after being struck in the head when a tent holding heavy speakers blew over. Although the woman was wearing a helmet, she lay motionless as officials tended to her. There was no immediate word on her condition.