March 15, 2012

SCHLADMING, Austria (AP) -- Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway won the World Cup super-G title for a third time Thursday, while overall leader Beat Feuz of Switzerland crashed and missed an early chance to secure the overall championship.

Feuz had to place first or second to take an insurmountable lead in the standings with two races left but lost his balance and slid off-course.

"Obviously I am very disappointed," Feuz said. He now leads Austria's Marcel Hirscher, who finished third in the final super-G of the season, by 75 points with a giant slalom and a slalom remaining. A win in each race is worth 100 points.

"It was only the first time I failed to finish a speed race this season. That's not a bad record," Feuz said. "I knew Marcel can do well in super-G and he just had a great run."

Feuz said his unusual mistake was not a result of the left knee injury he has been struggling with for weeks.

"No, my knee was just fine," Feuz said. "I felt well and was even more relaxed than before the downhill (on Wednesday)."

Hirscher, who won eight races in the technical disciplines this season, competed in only his fourth career super-G and was especially fast on the lower section of the hill.

"Many people told me it would be better to skip the super-G and focus only on GS and slalom this week," Hirscher said. "So this result gives me extra satisfaction. I have been fast in training so it was a challenge to do it at a race as well."

World champion Christof Innerhofer of Italy won the race, edging Alexis Pinturault of France by 0.02 and Hirscher by 0.06.

"My season has not been easy," said Innerhofer, who sustained concussion earlier this season and recently had back problems. "I am very happy that I am back now. I tried to think less and just ski like it's a training run."

Olympic super-G champion Svindal finished 16th, enough to protect his lead over main rival Didier Cuche of Switzerland, who finished ninth to trail the Norwegian by 13 points in the final discipline standings.

"I have been very lucky today," said Svindal, who has now won seven career crystal globes, including two for the overall championship. "I did not race well at all, but Didier didn't have his best run either. There were a lot of sharp turns, it was more like a giant slalom."

Svindal won the first super-G of the season in Lake Louise, Alberta, in November. The eight races in the discipline had eight different winners.

"Super-G was my only event where I did well all season - except for today," Svindal said.

Cuche, who is retiring after Saturday's giant slalom, missed out on his final chance to add another piece of silverware to his collection of six crystal globes.

"It's easy - I had one mistake too many," the Swiss racer said. "Two, three places higher and I had won it. I tried to perform well and I didn't succeed."

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