Swiss tyro Carlo Janka surged back to the top of the World Cup overall standings yesterday when he powered to a comprehensive win in the men’s downhill race.
Janka negotiated the grueling 4,480m-long course in 2 minutes, 32.23 seconds for his fourth victory of the season and his sixth career success.
The 23-year-old, who was second in the super-combined event on Friday behind Bode Miller of the US, finished a massive 0.66 seconds ahead of Canadian Manuel Osborne-Paradis, with Marco Buechel of Liechstenstein in third 0.82 seconds back.
Italian Werner Heel was in fourth, Swiss veteran Didier Cuche in joint fifth with Slovenian Andrej Jerman and another of the strong Swiss team in seventh in the shape of Didier Defago.
Miller, who had led the field at the intermediary times, crashed out after failing to get enough bite around one of the lower gates.
Janka, who notched up a memorable triple victory at Beaver Creek early last month, will now set his sights on the Kitzbuehel downhill next Saturday.
The World Cup continues today with a two-leg slalom race.
■MEN’S SKI JUMPING
AFP, SAPPORO, JAPAN
Austrian Thomas Morgenstern took advantage of a weakened field to claim victory in a World Cup ski jumping event yesterday.
Morgenstern, double Olympic champion in the 2006 Torino Games, scored 271.5 points from two jumps of 131.5m and 131m for his second World Cup win this season and his third in Sapporo, which hosts a second event today.
The Austrian finished ahead of Germany’s Andreas Wrank (126m and 136.5m for 267.5 points) and Japan’s Daiki Ito (133m and 128m for 266.3 points).
Switzerland’s Simon Ammann finished a disappointing fifth (128m and 127.5m for 258.4 points), but took the lead in the World Cup overall standings, 43 points ahead of arch-rival Gregor Schlierenzauer after 13 of the season’s 24 events.
Schlierenzauer opted to stay in Europe, as did Andreas Kofler and many of the best Finnish and Norwegian jumpers.
■WOMEN’S GIANT SLALOM
AFP, MARIBOR, SLOVENIA
Austrian Kathrin Zettel won a women’s World Cup giant slalom yesterday.
Zettel clocked a combined total of 2 minutes, 36.22 seconds to finish 0.23 seconds ahead of Germany’s Maria Riesch with Swede Anja Paerson, 0.48 seconds back.
World Cup leader Lindsey Vonn crashed out after her weight transference on a sharp turn threw her off balance.
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