MERIBEL, France (Reuters - Kjetil Jansrud sealed a near-perfect season with his fourth downhill victory on Wednesday to claim the World Cup crystal globe in the speed discipline.
The Norwegian, who also claimed the Super-G crown, made the best of the soft snow conditions to clock one minute 40.86 seconds and record the 10th World Cup win of his career.
He left nearest rival Hannes Reichelt 88 points behind after the Austrian had to settle for ninth on the French piste hosting the World Cup finals.
"To cross the line and see my time in green was a liberation. Winning on the last day to take the cup is just beyond words," he said.
"I didn't know Hannes's time and my coach did not say a word. But I had not planned to adapt to Hannes's time anyway. It might have looked easy from the outside but I never had that much pressure."
"It's hard to tell what it means to win the downhill globe. It can't compare to a medal or winning Kitzbuehel. They are only one-day joys. A globe crowns the whole season," he added.
Olympic Super-G champion Jansrud emulates fellow Norwegian Aksel Lund Svindal who also won both speed globes in 2013 and 2014 but missed almost the entire season with a torn Achilles tendon.
Jansrud could yet claim the overall World Cup after the 100 points he collected moved him 64 points behind three-times big champion Marcel Hirscher who will take part in Thursday's Super-G to try and score vital points.
"If I win tomorrow, I'll be ahead of Marcel and it might put him under pressure a bit," he said.
In his very last World Cup downhill, Swiss Didier Defago bid a splendid farewell to the discipline by taking second place, 0.24 behind Jansrud.
The 2010 Olympic champion finished 0.04 ahead of Austria's Georg Streitberger to end a brilliant career on a high note.
"I'm glad. It's the best downhiller of the season ahead of me and I can only be content with my race," said Defago, whose real farewell will take place in Thursday's Super-G. In a career spanning 18 years, the 37-year-old won only five World Cup races but the ones that matter in Alpine skiing history -- Wengen, Kitzbuehel, Val Gardena and Bormio.
(Reporting by Manuele Lang. Writing by Francois Thomazeau.)