Updated: Wednesday, 12 March 2014 00:58 | By Agence France-Presse

Crystal Globe battles set to go down to wire

Lenzerheide will likely witness a thrilling culmination to the World Cup season from Wednesday as both the men's and women's overall Crystal Globes are up for grabs.


Crystal Globe battles set to go down to wire

Norway's Aksel Lund Svindal competes in the men downhill training session at the FIS alpine skiing World Cup finals on March 11, 2014 in Lenzerheide - by Fabrice Coffrini

Twice overall World Cup winner Aksel Lund Svindal has double title-holder Marcel Hirscher in his sights with just four points separating the pair.

In the women's competition it's almost as close, although German Maria Hoefl-Riesch has a 29-point lead over Olympic Super-G champion Anna Fenninger of Austria.

Norwegian Svindal has already sewn up the downhill and Super-G crystal globes but will be counting on another maximum 100 points in Wednesday's downhill to put the pressure on Hirscher, who will not race that event.

The two will come face to face on Thursday in the Super-G where Svindal again is favourite to win, although Hirscher will at least be hoping to pick up some points.

The Austrian's revenge will probably come at the weekend in Saturday's giant slalom and Sunday's slalom.

In the first he leads American Olympic, twice world and four time small crystal globe champion Ted Ligety by 50 points.

Ligety needs to win and hope Hirscher slips up to snatch a fifth crystal globe in the discipline but any success he gains could benefit Svindal in the overall standings.

Hirscher trails German Felix Neureuther in the slalom standings by just five points but with Norwegian prodigy Henrik Kristoffersen 40 points off the lead, the Austrian faces a double threat to both his small globe and overall hopes non Sunday.

In the women's competition Hoefl-Riesch has the advantage of competing in all four events, although she is not in top shape having pulled out of Tuesday's training session due to illness.

And whereas in 2011 the German benefitted from dire weather conditions in Lenzerheide to win the overall globe by three points thanks to most races being cancelled, this time around the weather looks likely to hold out and she will have to compete for honours on the slopes.

She's in prime position, though, to win the downhill globe on Wednesday where she has an 80-point lead on Fenninger, meaning the Austrian must win and hope Hoefl-Riesch fails to achieve a top 10 finish to turn the standings on their head.

Fenninger faces a similar gap in Thursday's Super-G where she is Olympic champion but trails Switzerland's Lara Gut, the world championship silver medallist, by 71 points.

On Saturday the slalom has long already been sewn up by dominant American teenager Mikaela Shiffrin, who has been a cut above in this discipline for the last two years, winning Olympic gold, the world title and two World Cup crystal globes. 

For the overall globe, though, it could be decisive as Fenninger will not compete, meaning Hoefl-Riesch can put some points on her rival.

With a bit of luck it will all come down to Sunday's giant slalom. Fenninger is in fine form in this discipline having won the last three races but still trails Sweden's Jessica Lindell-Vikarby by 14 points.

Even so, if she wins again she will not only claim the small globe but could do enough to pinch the overall title from Hiefl-Riesch.

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