Janka wins GS for 3rd World Cup victory in a row
BEAVER CREEK – Switzerland’s Carlo Janka wrapped up quite a weekend by winning a giant slalom Sunday to become the first man in more than 2 1/2 years with three consecutive World Cup victories.
Janka finished two runs down the Birds of Prey course in a combined time of 2 minutes, 29.44 seconds, adding to his wins in a super combined event Friday and a downhill Saturday.
When the 23-year-old arrived at Beaver Creek this week, he owned a career total of two World Cup race wins.
Janka led after Sunday’s first GS run, which was contested in heavy snowfall that made it tough to see. The second run came under clouds, but no snow, and Janka was superb again.
Benjamin Raich of Austria was next, 0.47 seconds behind, and Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway came in third, 0.93 back. Ted Ligety of Park City, Utah, finished fourth, while his U.S. teammate Bode Miller skied out on the first run.
The last man to win three consecutive World Cup races was Svindal, who finished first in a downhill, a super-G and a giant slalom March 14-17, 2007, at Lenzerheide, Switzerland, en route to that season’s overall title.
The last man to take three races in a row at Beaver Creek was Hermann Maier of Austria in 1999.
Lindsey Vonn of Vail, nearly matched Janka’s feat this weekend in the women’s World Cup races at Lake Louise, Alberta. She won downhills Friday and Saturday, then was the runner-up – by all of 0.03 seconds – in a super-G on Sunday.
Janka is off to quite a start this season, marking him as one to watch at the Vancouver Olympics in February. He finished third in a giant slalom at Soelden, Austria, in October, then third again in a downhill at Lake Louise last week.
And then came this 3-for-3 showing.
All this from a racer who said he is still regaining his strength after missing most of the summer with a virus. Most days, he said, he felt like he had a “low battery.”
He sure was charged up just fine in Colorado.
Miller looked good on one of the three race days: He finished fourth behind Janka on Saturday, displaying his typically risky style. The American made two mistakes in that event – putting his glove down in the snow at one point to stay upright – but overcame those glitches to deliver a strong run.
Sunday’s “Did Not Finish” is the third for Miller in six events he’s contested this season after getting off to a late start because he didn’t decide until September that he would return to the circuit.
He also failed to finish the second run of Friday’s super combined at Beaver Creek.
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