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Jansrud increasingly hard to beat on home snow

March 2, 2014

KVITFJELL, Norway (AP) — Olympic super-G champion Kjetil Jansrud is carving out a reputation for winning races on his favorite home slope.

The Norwegian won the third World Cup race of his career in Sunday’s super-G, and all three have come in the resort of Kvitfjell, close to where he grew up.

When Lillehammer hosted the Winter Olympics 20 years ago American racer Tommy Moe won Olympic gold in downhill, and one of the course’s turns is named after him At the time, Jansrud was just a child getting to grips with the slopes he now conquers, but five of his 14 career podiums have been in Kvitfjell.

“We already have Tommy Moe’s name on a turn up there, from the Olympics, so I’ll think I’ll let Tommy Moe have his name on the course,” the 28-year-old Jansrud said. “Maybe I can find a random tree and cut out my name somewhere.”

Jansrud, who won gold in super-G and a bronze in downhill at the Sochi Olympics last month, overcame tricky racing conditions to finish 0.26 seconds ahead of Kueng and 0.33 clear of Olympic downhill champion Matthias Mayer of Austria.

“It was really tough today,” Jansrud said. “My coach said ‘watch out in the bottom part because if you want to take this home you’re gonna have to really ski faster.’ So I just tried a mix between attacking it and also being smart.”

Jansrud’s win followed his victory in Friday’s downhill, while Mayer took his second podium of the weekend after a third place in Saturday’s downhill.

“Being able to grab two out of three is something extraordinary,” Jansrud said. “It’s a fantastic weekend for me.”

Two years ago, he was on the podium for three straight days: Winning a super-G, finishing second in downhill and third in another super-G. Jansrud missed out on another home hat trick because he finished fifth in Saturday’s downhill.

Racers contended with overcast skies and visibility was made worse by persistent snowfall. The previous two days were foggy and grey.

“It was flat light. We kind of knew that from the morning though, with a little fog on top. It makes it like a white sheet,” Jansrud said. “At least the light wasn’t changing, that’s the most important thing.”

Several failed to finish, including Italy’s Christof Innerhofer — a silver medalist in downhill at Sochi — and Czech skier Ondrej Bank, who had a heavy fall.

Hopes for a home podium double were dashed when overall World Cup leader Aksel Lund Svindal finished .44 behind in fourth place.

The 29-year-old Kueng secured a third podium finish of the season — he won a super-G at Beaver Creek and a downhill at Wengen — and fifth of his career.

“After (finishing) 12th in the two downhills I was not so happy and the conditions were not easy,” Kueng said. “In the middle (section) I was really good.”

For Mayer, it was the fourth career podium, three of those in super-G.

Svindal looked on for a podium place, leading Kueng in the first three time splits before losing time on the bottom. Jansrud started soon after Svindal and showed his rival how to do it, waving his ski pole to the delighted crowd.

“I’ve been outside the podium three (races) in a row now,” said the 31-year-old Svindal, who was fifth and sixth in this weekend’s downhills. “I’m just not good enough right now.”

However, it was enough for Svindal to clinch the super-G title and extended his overall lead to 77 points over two-time defending champion Marcel Hirscher. Svindal has already clinched the overall downhill title.

American Travis Ganong, third in Friday’s downhill, failed to finish. Countryman Andrew Weibrecht, silver medalist in super-G at Sochi, was seventh and Bode Miller 12th.

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