WENGEN, Switzerland (AP) Beat Feuz won the classic Lauberhorn downhill on Saturday to give Switzerland yet another victory in its signature Alpine skiing race.
Racing first, Feuz set a time on the longest World Cup course of 4.27 kilometers (2.65 miles) that only Aksel Lund Svindal could threaten.
Svindal wore the No. 3 bib and led at four of the five time splits, but the Norwegian finished 0.18 seconds behind Feuz’s 2 minutes, 26.50 seconds.
”I’m very happy with the second place,” said Svindal, who watched Feuz’s run on television at the start house overlooked by the Eiger and Jungfrau mountains. ”I kind of figured it would be a tough one to beat.”
Matthias Mayer of Austria was third, trailing 0.67 behind Feuz.
That gave the storied race a podium of the world champion, ahead of the most consistent downhill racer of the past decade, and the 2014 Olympic champion.
Even fourth place was taken by Hannes Reichelt of Austria, who had his streak of five straight podium finishes at Wengen broken. When Reichelt won in 2015, he beat Feuz into second.
Feuz also won at Wengen in 2012, and the Swiss team has now won five of the past nine editions.
With his second downhill win this season, Feuz closed the gap on Svindal who leads the season-long standings. The 30-year-old Swiss previously won at Lake Louise, Canada, in November when Mayer and Svindal were also on the podium.
Svindal extended an impressive streak of top-three finishes in each of five World Cup downhills this season in his latest comeback from serious injuries and surgery.
”I can’t train as much,” said the 35-year-old Svindal who took silver in the 2010 Olympic downhill. ”So I’m very happy that I’m able to pull it out for the races and make it happen.”
On a clear and cold day, the race was run under blue skies with sun lighting much of the course.
Feuz and Svindal were rewarded for choosing low numbers for the 12:30 p.m. start. World Cup rules let the top 10-ranked downhill racers pick an odd-numbered bib from Nos. 1 through 19.
Mayer started No. 11, and said the snow became ”sticky” and slower in the sun-bathed upper section.
The fastest speed was recorded by Reichelt, wearing No. 19, who clocked 147.5 kph (almost 92 mph) on a straight section two minutes into his run. Still, the Austrian veteran’s chance was gone after dropping a full second behind Feuz in the top half.