By Steve Keating
BEAVER CREEK, Colorado (Reuters) - Norway's Kjetil Jansrud posted the fastest time in the downhill portion of the alpine ski world championship men's combined that was interrupted by a spectacular crash by Czech Ondrej Bank on Sunday.
Jansrud, who was the hot favorite in the blue riband downhill on Saturday but failed to medal, clocked a time of one minute, 43.01 seconds down the treacherous Birds of Prey track to take the advantage into the slalom.
Switzerland's Beat Feuz was second quickest just .09 seconds back while American hope Jared Goldberg was third, more than a half-second back.
A medal is far from assured for the Norwegian speedster with some of the world's best technical skiers ready to mount their charge later in the afternoon.
The combined adds times from the downhill and slalom to determine a winner.
Defending champion Ted Ligety of the United States will have to make up more than three seconds in the slalom if he is to retain his crown after recording the 30th best effort just ahead of world slalom champion Marcel Hirscher of Austria.
The American's focus was interrupted after he was left standing in the start hut for nearly 15 minutes when Bank crashed near the end of his run.
"I skied horrible, that's for sure," said Ligety. "Nothing good to say about that run.
"Honestly, on paper, I don't have a chance, really. You never know. There's always a big shakeup in combined in the slalom run but that's not a good position to be in."
One of the combined medal contenders in the discipline, Bank lost control entering "Red Tail", the final jump, smashing through a gate before being slammed onto the snow.
The packed grandstand gasped as the 34-year-old Czech tumbled motionless across the finish line as aid rushed to his side.
Medical staff worked on Bank in silence before he was loaded onto a stretcher and taken from the course.
Race officials reported Bank was conscious and moving but had sustained face lacerations and a concussion and was undergoing further examination in a Vail area hospital.
Bank, third at the Kitzbuehel combined two weeks ago, had finished a respectable seventh in the downhill on Saturday and looked to be having another good run until catching an edge on his outside ski as he sped towards the final jump.
(Editing by Gene Cherry)