Svindal wins WCup downhill title as race cancelled
Norway's Aksel Lund Svindal waits for his start at the men's downhill training for the finals of the Alpine skiing World Cup in Lenzerheide, Switzerland, Tuesday, March 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Alessandro Trovati)
LENZERHEIDE, Switzerland - Aksel Lund Svindal won his first season-long World Cup downhill title on Wednesday without even racing.
Fog forced the cancellation of the final race of the season, allowing the tall Norwegian to maintain his 58-point lead over 2012 champion Klaus Kroell of Austria.
The 30-year-old Svindal has emerged as a standout speed racer, adding the World Cup crystal globe to his gold medal in the Alpine glamor event at last month's world championships in Schladming, Austria.
He has already won the season title in super-G.
The International Ski Federation finally called off the race four hours after its scheduled 9.30 a.m. (0830 GMT) start time and numerous delays.
Fog shrouded lower parts of the Lenzerheide slope and fans in the grandstands couldn't see the finish line. Still, organizers hoped to start the women's downhill.
Lindsey Vonn, who is out injured, would win her sixth straight downhill title with another cancellation.
The cancelled men's race prevented Svindal from scoring points to close the gap on overall leader Marcel Hirscher of Austria.
Hirscher, the defending champion, leads Svindal by 149 points with three races left this week. Race wins are worth 100 points.
Hirscher is expected to make a rare super-G start on Thursday, if the weather allows. He locked up the slalom points race, which ends Sunday. Hirscher and Svindal both race giant slalom, which is scheduled for Saturday.
The weather also denied the successful Italian speed team a chance to crown its outstanding season.
Dominik Paris and Christof Innerhofer, who combined for five wins compared to Svindal's one, both could have taken the title Wednesday if results had fallen their way.
Svindal broke a 13-year streak of downhill titles shared by the powerful Austrian team and Swiss favourite Didier Cuche.
The title last went outside the Alpine neighbours' hands in 1999 when another Norwegian, Lasse Kjus, won.
With Cuche retired and expected successor Beat Feuz injured all season, no Swiss racer qualified for the scheduled race.
World Cup finals races are limited to the top 25 in the discipline standings, the junior world champion and any racer with 500 race points overall.