Sweep for Svindal

Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press

Ted Ligety raced down to a fourth-place finish in the World Cup super-G at Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada, on Sunday. Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway won the race.

The Associated Press

LAKE LOUISE, Alberta – Aksel Lund Svindal thought he had a chance for a perfect weekend at Lake Louise.

Turns out, he was right.

Svindal won a super-G Sunday, edging Adrien Theaux of France by .85 seconds and completing a sweep the downhill and super-G races at the Lake Louise Winterstart World Cup.

“Most racers, including myself, you don’t have the chance to win World Cups every day and when you feel you have a chance, you have to get after it,” Svindal said. “(Saturday and Sunday), I felt ‘This is a race I can win,’ and you’ve got to try and take advantage of those opportunities.”

Svindal became the first man to pull off the double at Lake Louise since American Bode Miller in 2004. He also won the super-G here in 2011.

“That’s the great thing about skiing. When you have it, you go fast,” the big Norwegian said.

Svindal was timed in 1 minute, 34.96 seconds. Joachim Puchner of Austria was third in 1:35.86, and Ted Ligety of the U.S. was fourth in 1:35.87.

The men now head to Beaver Creek for downhill, super-G and giant slalom races on the Birds of Prey course.

The women arrive at Lake Louise this week for downhill races Friday and Saturday and next Sunday’s super-G.

American ski star Lindsey Vonn swept all three races in 2011 and has won 11 times at Lake Louise. She petitioned the world governing body of skiing to race the men at Lake Louise this year but was denied.

Vonn recently was hospitalized with a stomach ailment, which set her back. She finished 21st in a giant slalom in Aspen on Saturday and skipped Sunday’s slalom to prepare for Lake Louise.

Svindal’s victory was the 18th of his career. Five years ago, he crashed spectacularly in a downhill training run on the Birds of Prey course. Broken bones in his face and a severe laceration in his abdomen sidelined him for the entire 2007-08 season.

Svindal returned to capture the overall World Cup title in 2009. He won Olympic gold in super-G, silver in downhill and bronze in giant slalom at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Whistler, British Columbia.

The 6-4, 209-pound skier has the elusive combination of strength, health, equipment and the knowledge he can take risks on the course and win.

“The most interesting part is how you get there,” Svindal said. “My way of getting there is I don’t use sports psychiatry for instance and someone telling me I should get there.

“I know if I prepared and worked harder than anyone, I ski fast in training and I’ve chosen my equipment good then I’ve done all the preparations I can do, and it’s all up to me.”

The 29-year-old Svindal said the 2007 crash changed him as a racer. He was coming off a super-G win in Lake Louise and felt like “Superman” when he arrived in Beaver Creek.

“I was a second ahead of everyone on the training run, which is unnecessary because it was the first training run,” Svindal said. “I went down hard and when I hit the fence, I wasn’t so much Superman any more.

“The kind of risks I took (Saturday and Sunday), there’s no need to take in training and that’s the lesson learned from that experience.”

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