Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Kjetil Jansrud Wins Downhill Race and Title

Norway’s Kjetil Jansrud showed that he is indeed the king of the 2014/15 speed events as he won today’s downhill at the Audi FIS World Cup Season Finals in Meribel (FRA), earning the Season Title in downhill.
Today’s victory put the icing on the cake of a dream season for the Norwegian. Jansrud already clinched the crystal globe in the super-G prior to this weekend’s finals, and now has nine victories in speed events this season and 12 total podiums. But the work is not finished yet for Jansrud as he is still in the hunt for the Overall Season Title against Austria’s Marcel Hirscher. Tomorrow’s super-G will be Jansrud’s last chance to get points in the tight battle.
"It’s pretty amazing, this was the first race this season where I was feeling little bit of pressure but it’s an amazing feeling pulling it off", said Jansrud after the victory. "Getting the globe and winning the race is a pretty amazing and I’m just enjoying the moment".
After today’s race, Hirscher still holds a 64-point lead over Jansrud in the Overall standings, putting the onus on Jansrud to gather as many points tomorrow in the super-G to try to move ahead in the standings and put the pressure back on Hirscher for the weekend’s technical events.
It was t-shirt weather in Meribel today, which made for excellent conditions for the packed crowd, but less than ideal snow for the racers, who fought against quickly softening conditions. Didier Defago (SUI), who is retiring after tomorrow’s super-G, almost pulled off a fairy tale race as he came down with Bib 1 and nearly hung on for the victory as he sat in the leader box until Jansrud spoiled his party 17 racers later.
"When I came here this weekend it was my goal to ski and make it to the podium so it’s a great feeling", said Defago. "I’m very happy and now I just enjoy this day and all the emotions that go with it. I have a lot of friends and family here so it’s a very nice finish for me".
Jansrud was one of the few late starters that was able to conquer the soft snow as he edged Defago by 0.24 seconds. Defago still had a silver lining as he got on the podium finishing in second place in his next-to-last race, just ahead of Austria’s Georg Streitberger.
Jansrud won the downhill globe by a 96-point margin ahead of Hannes Reichelt (AUT), but it was a battle until the last race as the Norwegian held a slim 20-point lead heading into today's race and was in a must-win situation. Guillermo Fayed (FRA) finished third in the season standings.

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