Norway’s Kjetil Jansrud cut Austrian Marcel Hirscher’s lead atop the overall World Cup standings to 34 points after finishing second in Thursday’s super-G behind Canadian winner Dustin Cook.
With Jansrud having already netted the crystal globe for the speed discipline, this race at the season-ending finals in the French Alps was all about netting points in the race for the overall title.
Hirscher, who is targeting a fourth straight overall World Cup crown, went into the super-G with a 64-point advantage over Jansrud.
But the 29-year-old Norwegian, winner of Wednesday’s downhill and the discipline’s globe, knew that if he were to stand any chance of upsetting Hirscher, he had to score.
Pushing himself to the limit, Jansrud netted 80 valuable points for finishing 0.05sec behind Cook, who clocked 1min 06.04sec down the 1.7km-long roc de Fer piste in brilliant sunshine.
“It’s special coming into the race and knowing you’ve won the (super-G) globe,” said Jansrud.
“I had a lot of motivation for the race and wanted to go for the win, but I’m still pretty pleased with second place – the sun is shining and I can’t complain.”
Earlier, Hirscher had pulled out all the stops in the bottom third of the course after falling 0.40sec behind at the second intermediary time-check to finish an impressive fourth, at 0.09sec.
The Austrian technical specialist gained 50 points to push his total up to 1,298pts, with Jansrud creeping up to 1,264.
All in all, the race was a very useful day’s work for Hirscher ahead of the giant slalom on Saturday and Sunday’s potentially title-deciding slalom, two events in which the Austrian will expect to come to the fore.
“Marcel is grabbing a lot of points right now and he could already wrap it up on Saturday, but I’ll just ski as fast as I can in the giant slalom and we’ll see how it goes,” Jansrud said of the hunt for the overall title.
The podium headed by Cook, in his first World Cup victory, was rounded out by France’s Brice Roger in third, 0.08sec off the Canadian’s pace, as the top 16 skiers finished within one second.
“This was the goal for sure, I really wanted to win,” said Cook. “I’m definitely not used to this, maybe someone like Kjetil who wins a lot, but this is all new and all exciting for me and I couldn’t be happier. It’s unbelievable.”