IT’S ALL NOR­WAY IN SWITZER­LAND

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Gra­ham Dun­bar

Hen­rik Kristof­fersen takes a World Cup slalom to give Nor­way a three-vic­tory week­end sweep in Wen­gen, Switzer­land. Kristof­fersen has four wins in five slaloms this sea­son.

wen­gen, switzer­land» It was Nor­way all the way, all week­end at Wen­gen.

Hen­rik Kristof­fersen won a World Cup slalom Sun­day to fol­low team­mates Ak­sel Lund Svin­dal and Kjetil Jan­srud in mak­ing Switzer­land’s sig­na­ture alpine ski meet­ing a three-race Nor­we­gian sweep.

Kristof­fersen’s fourth win this sea­son, all in slalom, was also a record 12th for Nor­way in a men’s World Cup cam­paign. This one is still only 19 races old and has two months and 24 sched­uled races to go.

“It’s pretty unique. Iit doesn’t hap­pen ev­ery year,” said Kristof­fersen, who also won the pre­vi­ous Sun­day at Adel­bo­den. “I don’t think it’s a se­cret. The work that the in­di­vid­ual ath­lete does makes the dif­fer­ence.”

A bonus for Nor­way was Aus­trian Mar­cel Hirscher’s fail­ure to fin­ish the race, mean­ing the four-time de­fend­ing over­all World Cup cham­pion missed the chance to take back the stand­ings lead from Svin­dal.

Kristof­fersen added to his first-run lead to fin­ish 0.30 sec­onds faster than Guiliano Raz­zoli, the 2010 Olympic cham­pion from Italy. An­other Ital­ian, Ste­fano Gross, was 0.68 back in third.

The 21-year-old racer’s surge down the fi­nal sec­tion, af­ter slip­ping 0.05 be­hind Raz­zoli’s time split, car­ried him through the fin­ish area and al­most over a pro­tec­tive airbag at the back.

“I told the coaches, ‘If I’m be­hind on the last steep, don’t worry, I’m go­ing to get it back,’” Kristof­fersen said.

Nor­way is typ­i­cally a cross coun­try ski­ing na­tion, and Kristof­fersen showed some nordic skills on the flat course. The race was run in steadily fall­ing snow on the lower part of the down­hill course rather than the ad­join­ing slalom hill that was too dif­fi­cult to pre­pare dur­ing re­cent warm weather.

On an up­hill sec­tion of gates, Kristof­fersen pre­ferred to use a skat­ing-style move while some ri­vals chose an aero­dy­namic tuck po­si­tion typ­i­cal of down­hill rac­ers.

“I haven’t done that much (cross coun­try ski­ing) in my life, but I’m from Nor­way, so I guess it’s in my body,” the 21-year-old Kristof­fersen said af­ter his first run in the morn­ing. “This is maybe a lit­tle bit too flat. But it’s bet­ter to have a race than not.”

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