Swiss racer wins world's longest downhill in Wengen
b Hodgetts - It's the longest race on skiing's World Cup circuit but Switzerland's Beat Feuz proved he has legs of steel with a second Wengen title in front of raucous home fans Saturday.
The world champion streaked down the famous Lauberhorn track, one of the classic courses at 4.27 kilometers, to edge out multiple Olympic medalist Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway.
The 30-year-old Feuz was first to ski and clocked two minutes 26.5 seconds on the celebrated course overlooked by Alpine giants the Eiger, the Monch and the Jungfrau.
Svindal, 35, went down third and finished 0.18 seconds back after a cavalier run that had him brushing the safety netting on the exit from the Bruckli S section.
Olympic downhill champion Matthias Mayer of Austria was third in 2:27.16.
The victory was Feuz's sixth World Cup downhill win and ninth in all disciplines.
He won the downhill in Wengen in 2012 and was second in 2015.
Svindal's close shave
Former world champion Svindal, one of the most successful speed racers of his generation, has won two downhills this season after missing much of last year recuperating from knee surgery.
He said he lost the race in the final few finishing turns but admitted he was lucky after his near miss higher up the course.
"The Bruckli S is part of what makes Wengen very special," he told reporters. "I know how downhills used to be when they first raced this race back in the 1930s or something like that, and at that time you would carry speed in that was not 108 kph like today, so it's one of those old-school turns that is almost impossible to do with the skis you have now.
"I actually hit the net on the inside on the way out. I felt it but then you forget it right away because you're focusing ahead, but when I came down I saw my helmet and it's all blue on one side and my whole shoulder is blue from burnt rubber from the safety net. Lucky I was wearing a helmet."
The men's speed racers next to head to Kitzbuhel for the season's World Cup downhill highlight on the famed Hahnenkamm mountain.
While Kitzbuhel's Streif piste is renowned for being a steep, icy, bumpy track, it only takes about 1:55 seconds to complete compared to well over two leg-burning minutes on the Wengen course.
Svindal won in Wengen in 2016 and clinched the super-G in Kitzbuhel the following week before a bad crash in the downhill ended his season. Feuz's best finish in the Kitzbuhel downhill was second in 2015.
Feuz's victory cut Svindal's lead in the World Cup downhill standings to 58 points.
The pair will among the favorites for Olympic downhill gold at the Winter Games in South Korea next month.
Svindal won Olympic super-G gold, silver in downhill and bronze in giant slalom at the 2010 Games in Vancouver.
Wengen hosts a men's slalom Sunday.
On the women's circuit, Italian Federica Brignone was the surprise winner of a super-G in Bad Kleinkirchheim ahead of Swiss Lara Gut.
Austrian Cornelia Huetter was third, while US star Lindsey Vonn could only finish ninth.
Vonn said afterwards her focus is more on the Olympics next month.
She tweeted: "Solid result today in tough conditions. Lost a lot of time on the bottom but generally happy to have made it down safely. Downhill training run and race in the same day tomorrow. Should be interesting. #focusedonFebruary."
The women will race a downhill on the same hill Sunday.