Jansrud in spotlight for men's downhill

Fri Feb 6, 2015 8:04pm EST
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By Mark Lamport-Stokes

BEAVER CREEK, Colorado (Reuters) - The spotlight at the alpine ski world championships will once again fall on in-form Norwegian Kjetil Jansrud, who is unquestionably the man to beat in the men's blue riband downhill on Saturday.

The 29-year-old has won three times in World Cup downhill this season, most recently in Kitzbuehel last week, and will have extra motivation to shine on the Birds of Prey course at Beaver Creek after his Super-G disappointment on Thursday.

As Olympic champion, Jansrud was the gold medal favorite for Super-G, the opening event on the men's program at Beaver Creek, but had to settle for fourth place after hitting the first gate and injuring his left shoulder.

However, the Norwegian team said Jansrud's injury was not serious and the speed specialist is expected to compete in the showcase downhill.

"His shoulder is beaten up a little bit but it's not too bad," said compatriot Aksel Lund Svindal, a five-times gold medallist at the worlds who finished sixth in the men's Super-G on Thursday.

"It's just part of the game. On the plus side, he's just going to want revenge in the downhill so I am not too worried about him. He will race on Saturday."

Jansrud, who has yet to earn a world championships medal, won bronze in the men's downhill at the 2014 Sochi Olympics where Christof Innerhofer of Italy took silver and Austria's Matthias Mayer the gold.

Other leading contenders for the coveted downhill title include Mayer, Innerhofer and consistent Italian Dominik Paris.   Continued...

Feb 5, 2015; Beaver Creek, CO, USA; Kjetil Jansrud of Norway grabs his shoulder after his run during the men's Super G in the FIS alpine skiing world championships at Birds of Prey Racecourse. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports