Austrian Marcel Hirscher was assured of his second Alpine skiing overall World Cup on Thursday after fog, wind and snow forced organizers to cancel men’s and women’s super-G races at the season’s finals.
The decision meant Norway’s Aksel Lund Svindal clinched the super-G World Cup, while Slovenian Tina Maze took the women’s title in the discipline.
Hirscher is certain to lift the overall crystal globe after Svindal, his sole remaining rival, said he would not enter tomorrow’s closing slalom.
However, Hirscher refused to celebrate after races on the windswept Silvano Beltrametti course were called off following a heavy crash that left teammate Klaus Kroell in hospital with a broken shoulder.
“It’s very difficult to rejoice about the possibility of winning the big globe on a day when Klaus Kroell got injured. It’s a real pity. I will wait for the next race to celebrate,” said the 24-year-old Salzburg skier, who also won the slalom World Cup.
Downhill world and World Cup champion Svindal trails the Austrian by 149 points in the standings, with only a maximum of 100 available from today’s giant slalom if he misses Sunday’s race.
“I’m not doing the slalom. It would be useless. I would need to win it to have a chance and this is out of the question,” said Svindal, who has not scored a point in a slalom for more than three years.
“I’ll do the giant slalom to end on a good note but it’s over,” added the skier, who had not been expected to race the slalom, but would have been allowed to on the basis of his overall ranking.
If the decision to cancel the super-Gs was controversial, with the Austrian team putting pressure on organizers, Hirscher’s title was deserved.
Nine racers had braved gusting winds to start the race before Kroell, last year’s downhill World Cup champion, crashed into the safety nets and had to be flown to hospital by helicopter.
The Austrian team left the start area before the decision had been made to call it a day. Coaches and skiers later voted not to continue by a slim margin.
Svindal said that, unlike downhills and super-Gs, slaloms are rarely canceled which makes it easier for the technical skiers to win the overall title.
He had another reason to feel aggrieved after his girlfriend, American Julia Mancuso, saw her women’s super-G World Cup hopes disappear when that race was also canceled because of the men’s delay.
The crystal globe went to world champion Maze, her third of the season to go with the giant slalom and overall World Cup titles.
The Slovenian, who could add the slalom globe to her haul tomorrow, lost the downhill World Cup crown to injured American Lindsey Vonn by one point after Wednesday’s men’s and women’s races were canceled because of fog.