IT’S ALL NORWAY IN SWITZERLAND
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.”