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For Raich, Svindal, super-combi could be key in chase for overall World Cup title

For Raich, Svindal, super-combi could be key in chase for overall World Cup title

Defending overall World Cup champion Benjamin Raich is looking for a hat trick as well as some badly needed points.
The winner of the last two super-combis on the Lauberhorn, Raich is the favorite for Friday's event and is hoping the race will take place despite a forecast of rain, snow and powerful winds.
"I hope the weather holds up. I have a good chance to win this time again," said Raich, who has also won three slalom races in Wengen.
The super-combi, which will add the time from a downhill leg to a slalom run, presents a particular challenge to technical specialists like Raich.
At 4.5 kilometers (2.8 miles), the Lauberhorn downhill is one of the most physically demanding slopes. Slalom runs are usually more than 50 seconds long. Giant slalom runs hover around 1:10-1:15.
Didier Cuche, who was fastest in the downhill training session on Thursday, finished in 2:32.66.
Raich was 36th, 3.25 seconds slower than Cuche.
"It's an extremely long downhill and that makes for a very hard day because then you also have to ski the slalom," Raich said.
Olympic combined champion Ted Ligety, better known as a technical skier than a speed racer, also felt his legs burning in the finish.
"I was taking it pretty easy in the top part so I'd have strength left at the bottom," Ligety said. "I was standing up in places."
Raich will also be looking to close the gap on current overall leader Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway, who leads with 639 points after 18 races. Cuche is second with 571 points, while Bode Miller is third with 540.
Raich, who collected 180 points in Adelboden last weekend, is currently fifth with 458 points.
This is the first year the FIS will award a World Cup title for the combined discipline. Four combined events are scheduled this season.
Last year, Raich won three of four combined events and thought he'd clinched the discipline title only to discover there was none.
He's had less success this season.
Svindal, who won the combi in Beaver Creek, Colorado, leads the discipline standings with 140 points after two races. Ivica Kostelic of Croatia, who won the combi in Reiteralm, Austria, last month, is second with 100 points. Raich is 21st.
In Beaver Creek, Raich missed a gate in the slalom leg. He finished 10th in Reiteralm.
The outlook for Friday is bleak with overnight rain and snow expected, as well as high winds and warming temperatures.
If it appears staging the combi could damage the course, organizers would likely sacrifice it in favor of Saturday's classic Lauberhorn downhill.
The course already took a hit with 99 racers training on it Thursday.


Updated : 2021-10-19 08:06 GMT+08:00