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BEAVER CREEK, Colorado, (Reuters) - Kjetil Jansrud may have won three of his five races this season but the Norwegian remains cautious at the start of a long winter in which he sees Austria’s Marcel Hirscher capable of running the show once more.
“I’ll need more than three wins to compete with Marcel. I don’t want to think about the World Cup yet. But the downhill and Super G cups are going to be interesting,” said the 29-year-old, coming of age in the absence of injured compatriot Aksel Lund Svindal.
Winner of both races in Lake Louise last weekend, the Super-G Olympic champion added the Beaver Creek downhill to his haul on the course of the 2015 world championships and came close to becoming the first skier to clinch all four speed events in North America by finishing second to Austria’s Hannes Reichelt in Saturday’s Super-G on the Birds of Prey piste.
With Henrik Kristoffersen's slalom victory in Levi last month, Norway have swept four of the six races held in the men’s World Cup.
“There are no surprises, no secrets, just hard work, Jansrud said. "Henrik is an amazing talent, he’ll be around for many years. For me, I always had the ability. I just went into this season with a plan of being fast and it’s working out well." With the same first name as Kjetil Andre Aamodt, who won a record 19 medals in alpine skiing at the Olympics or worlds, the current World Cup leader ruled out one day becoming “the best Kjetil.”
“It’s just like an heritage. The elders passed on the baton. Ole Christian Furuseth before Aamodt and Lasse Kjus. Then Aksel and me who are now handing it to Henrik,” he said.
Still he is the one holding the baton for now, perhaps thanks to his Olympic gold medal in Sochi.
“It didn’t change my life to be honest," he said. "It can if you want it to. But I just put it in a drawer and started thinking about this season.” Jansrud is aware that fortunes can turn quickly in such a risky sport.
“Unbeatable is not a word I’m going to use at all, that’s not how sport runs," he said. "I’ve just been skiing very, very good.”
Editing by Gene Cherry