VAL, GARNDENA ITALY – Aksel Lund Svindal increased his overall World Cup lead by winning the Val Gardena super-G for the third time on Friday, while many of his rivals skied off course or crashed in difficult conditions.
Svindal clocked 1 minute, 35.82 seconds in a flawless run on the Saslong course to match his wins here in 2009 and last year. It was the Norwegian’s 24th career win and his third this season.
Svindal, who has won six of the last eight super-Gs going back to last season, reacted with a fist pump and a broad smile.
“Racing never gets old,” he said. “Every time you cross the finish line, you look up to see your time hoping you’re fast, because you never really know. . . . When you see that green light that’s always the best moment.”
In February, Svindal will defend his Olympic super-G title at Sochi.
Jan Hudec of Canada finished second, 0.58 seconds behind, and Adrian Theaux of France was third, 0.91 back.
Following his first podium finish since February 2012, Hudec said he was pleased he could race at 100 percent after being slowed for most of his career by injuries.
“I was never in a position to ski the way I wanted to ski and that’s been very frustrating,” Hudec said. “Especially last season, I was struggling with my knee. This is the first time in I don’t know how many years that I’m skiing the way I’ve wanted to ski.
“In the past I would do course inspection and account for my knee and not take too tight a line. Today, I just put everything on the line.”
Svindal skied after Hudec and benefited from hearing Hudec’s course report as part of a training arrangement between Norway and Canada.
“It’s pretty unique in a competitive sport like this where two nations work together,” Hudec said. “It takes a lot of confidence on both sides.”