Canada's Erik Guay wins bronze in World Cup downhill; Svindal takes gold | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Canada's Erik Guay wins bronze in World Cup downhill; Svindal takes gold

Norway's Aksel Lund Svindal, center, winner of an alpine ski men's World Cup downhill, celebrates on the podium with second-placed Austria's Hannes Reichelt, left, and third-placed Canada's Erik Guay, in Bormio, Italy, Sunday, Dec. 29, 2013. (AP Photo/Alessandro Trovati)
December 29, 2013 - 7:18 AM

BORMIO, Italy - Overall World Cup leader Aksel Lund Svindal mastered the fresh snow conditions on the Stelvio course Sunday to win a downhill for his fourth victory of the Olympic season.

The Norwegian clocked 1 minute, 54.08 seconds to finish 0.39 seconds ahead of Hannes Reichelt of Austria.

Canada's Erik Guay placed third, 0.51 back, for a strong follow-up to his downhill victory in Val Gardena a week ago.

Svindal trailed Guay at every checkpoint but then gained 0.65 seconds over the last few gates, where Guay made a slight but costly error, lifting up his left ski to regain his balance after cutting off a turn too sharply.

With his 21st podium, Guay, from Mont-Tremblant, Que., broke the Canadian record held by Steve Podborski, a member of the Crazy Canucks team in the 1970s and 80s.

The start of the race was delayed for 40 minutes due to fog and low visibility, and overnight snow provided a much softer surface than during the two training sessions Friday and Saturday.

Svindal extended his overall lead ahead of two-time defending champion Marcel Hirscher to 195 points. The Norwegian also leads the downhill standings and is shaping up as the top favourite for the speed events at the Sochi Olympics, which start in 40 days.

Svindal won a medal of each colour at the 2010 Vancouver Games.

Still, he had never won in Bormio and missed out on victory last season by 0.01 — the smallest margin possible — when Reichelt and Dominik Paris of Italy shared the victory.

Paris sat out this race as he recovers from a fall in Val Gardena.

Calgary's Jan Hudec was 14th, Manuel Osborne-Paradis of North Vancouver, B.C., was 21st and Conrad Pridy of Whistler, B.C., was 29th. Robbie Dixon of Whistler was 32nd, Benjamin Thomsen of Invermere, B.C., was 37th and Jeffrey Frisch of Mont-Tremblant was 41st.

It was Svindal's 25th career World Cup win, moving him into sole possession of 11th place on the all-time list. One more victory and he'll pull even with Austrian great Franz Klammer for 10th place on the list, which is led by Swedish legend Ingemar Stenmark with 86 wins.

Just as impressive, Svindal became the first skier from outside Austria or Switzerland to win 20 World Cup speed races — joining a select group that includes Hermann Maier (39 speed wins), Klammer (25 — all downhill), Stephan Eberharter (24), Peter Mueller (21) and Pirmin Zurbriggen (21).

Besides his win last year, Reichelt also won a super-G on the Stelvio in 2008.

The top American finisher was Travis Ganong of Squaw Valley, Calif., in 10th, while Bode Miller struggled with the conditions and finished 35th.

Bormio will also host the next men's race on Jan. 6, a Monday night slalom that was moved from Zagreb due to a lack of snow in Croatia.

A New Year's Day race in Munich was cancelled due to lack of snow.


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News from © The Associated Press, 2013
The Associated Press

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