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Aksel Lund Svindal wins super-combi

2/14/2011

GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany -- Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway recovered from a head-jarring crash to retain his super-combined world championship title Monday, while Christof Innerhofer of Italy earned his third medal in three races by taking silver.

Svindal -- who was hurt after skiing into a barrier over the weekend -- led comfortably after the downhill portion and hung on down a steep slalom course on the Gudiberg slope to stay ahead. Svindal now has nine world championship and Olympic medals, five of them gold.

Innerhofer, with one World Cup victory coming into the championships, now has the full range of medals here. He won gold in the super-G and bronze in the downhill.

"I still don't believe it. I just tried to leave it all out there and risk everything," Innerhofer said. "Right now everything is working for me. It's my moment, my world championships."

Innerhofer becomes the first Italian man to win three medals at worlds since Zeno Colo in 1950 in Aspen, Colo.

Another Italian, Peter Fill, captured a surprise bronze after benefiting from the mistakes of others.

While the favorite skipped the race altogether, several others flopped in the slalom leg.

Olympic champion Bode Miller's slalom run was finished before the second gate and American teammate Ted Ligety missed a gate.

Olympic bronze medalist Silvan Zurbriggen and Beat Feuz of Switzerland, second after the downhill portion, both failed to finish the slalom run, while Benjamin Raich of Austria could not make up his big deficit from the downhill run and had to settle for fourth.

Miller sat too far back on his skis and was catapulted into the air going into the second gate, landing on his back. Just before him, Ligety had ended his run prematurely.

Innerhofer was third after the downhill and the Italian team lodged an official protest, believing there was a timing error on his run. It was rejected and the team was told that the intermediate times were not accurate, but that the overall time was correct.

Ivica Kostelic of Croatia, who swept all three World Cup super-combined races this season and is the Olympic silver medalist in the event, decided to take a break from the worlds to rest on the Adriatic coast. He will return for the giant slalom and slalom events.

Kostelic is eager to win the overall World Cup title for the first time and believes getting some rest will help him protect his big lead in the races coming up after the championships.

Svindal used new boots and new skis in the downhill. The Norwegian crashed into the barrier in the finish area at Saturday's downhill, hitting his head and hurting his knee. He appeared shaken as he was helped off the finish area.

"I had a scan. My head is OK. My knee is also OK; it's still swollen, but it's OK," Svindal said after Monday's downhill portion.

His winning time for the two runs was 2 minutes, 54.41 seconds. Innerhofer was 1.01 seconds behind and Fill was 1.90 seconds off the pace.