Pinturault takes combined as Wengen weekend opens
Folks around the World Cup aren't sure what to do with combined these days. With just two on the schedule, - at the classic sites of Wengen's Lauberhorn and Kitzbuehel's Hahnenkamm next weekend - there will be no title awarded.
The results of the first - and next to last - of the season saw Alexis Pinturault getting his second win of the season with two former Cup champions regaining enough form to impact. Ivica Kostelic picked up his first podium of the season and Carlo Janka, in third, scored his first top 10 since last March.
It was a bright, sunny day high in the Swiss Alps and Pinturault had started the slalom leg ninth and more than two seconds behind Christof Innerhofer, the winner of the shortened downhill. He started in the midst of some with serious asperations of winning the event, sandwiched between Benjamin Raich and Kostelic. He readily outshone those two for a 1.15 second lead. But there remained plenty of threats to start.
The 18th starter, the man who had finished 11th in the downhill leg, was American Ted Ligety.
It seemed the racing gods, and there are plenty of ghosts around the 83rd Lauberhorn, might be favoring the American. There was a TV break one racer in front of him allowing course workers time to smooth the course. Then that next skier, Matteo Marsaglia, was an early course DNF.
It was not to be. Ligety was slightly behind when he threw a shoe and was forced off course. Pinturault, with a 1.15second lead in hand, shrugged. After a horrible run of luck at Adelboden, he was ready to accept whatever good fortune he could find.
"To be honest we couldn't tell what happened (to Ted)," said US coach Sasha Rearick. "It was his inside ski as he was going by the gate on the top of a roll, so it was really tough to tell." Study of the game video will reveal how it happened, but the outcome was a ski released and Ligety ran out of luck.
The rest of the starters kicked out of the start house with big leads. Most of them had lost it all by the first interval timer. Six were still leading at the second interval. Only Janka made the podium. Pinturault's slalom leg was the fastest by 1.17 seconds.
Ryan Cochran-Siegle was the only North American to score. In 25th he earned his first Cup combined points. Let's hope he will get more chances to earn more in the discipline.
“I had a very good morning,” said Pinturault, referring to a 22nd place finish in the downhill leg. He said he took “a lot of chances” in the slalom leg, “and won everything.”
Kostelic said he was pleased with his podium, adding that “Ted (Ligety) would have been before me, but he was unlucky.”
Janka - who hit a World Cup record 158.8 kph in the downhill - was not just pleased with his first decent result of the season, but with that of a Swiss men's team that has been courting disaster all season. “We had a good team performance, especially in the downhill. Tomorrow a few other hot topics go to the start, so we are confident. My downhill was very good, the slalom was just a fight. In the end I was luckily two hundredths ahead of Benni.”
Benjamin Raich finished fourth, easily his best showing of the season.
by Hank McKee
Men's World Cup super combined, Wengen, Switzerland, Jan. 18, 2013
1 Pinturault, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
2 Kostelic, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
3 Janka, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
4 Raich, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
5 Innerhofer, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
6 Paris, Nordica/Nordica/Marker
7 Mermillod Blondin, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
8 Berthod, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
9 Viletta, Nordica/Nordica/Marker
10 Klotz, Nordica/Nordica/Marker
Men's World Cup super combined, Wengen, Switzerland, Jan. 18, 2013. ... It is the opening event of the 83rd Lauberhorn. ... It is the 40th race of the 2012-13 World Cup season. ... The 19th of 40 mens' races and the first of two men's combineds. ... It is the 23rd Cup combined held, at least in part, at Wengen.
It is the third career World Cup victory for Alexis Pinturault, all coming in different disciplines. ... He won last season's Moscow city event and the Dec. 8 slalom at Val d'Isere previously. ... He finished fourth in last season's Wengen combined.
It is the 53rd career World Cup podium placing for Ivica Kostelic, two shy of his sister's Croatian record. ... It is his 13th Cup combined podium and second at Wengen (he won in 2012). ... It is his first podium of the season, though he was fourth in the Adelboden slalom Jan. 13.
It is the 20th career World Cup podium finish for Carlo Janka. ... his sixth in combined. ... It is his fourth combined win at Wengen, including the victory in 2009. ... It is his first top 10 of the season.
Ryan Cochran-Siegle matches his second best career Cup finish. ... It is his first scoring result in combined. ... It is his third score of the season after tallying two at Lake Louise in November.
Marcel Hirscher (did not race) maintains the lead of the World Cup Overall Standings 855-747 over Aksel Svindal (14th in race). ... Ted Ligety (2nd run DNF) holds third at 676pts. ... Erik Guay (did not race) is top Canadian in 20th with 189pts. ... Pinturault leads the combined standings after one contest with 100pts. ... Austria leads the men's Nations Cup 3101-2204 over Italy. ... France is third with 1821pts. ... The US is fifth with 1127pts and Canada ninth with 434pts.
FIS World Cup
Men's Super Combined
Jan 18, 2013
|Rank||Bib||FIS Code||Name||Year||Nation||Run 1||Run 2||Total Time||FIS Points|
|7||15||192504||MERMILLOD BLONDIN Thomas||1984||FRA||1:50.02||53.73||2:43.75||14.10|
|14||22||421328||SVINDAL Aksel Lund||1982||NOR||1:48.92||55.28||2:44.20||17.08|
|18||40||193967||MUFFAT JEANDET Victor||1989||FRA||1:51.30||53.14||2:44.44||18.67|
|Disqualified 1st run|
|24||30149||SIMARI BIRKNER Cristian Javier||1980||ARG|
|Did not finish 2nd run|
|41||400281||VAN HEEK Marvin||1991||NED|