BEAVER CREEK, Colo. — Video of the Beaver Creek men’s super G Saturday (Dec. 7) could sell any prospective fan on ski racing. The race had it all. It was an epic battle, a display of many levels of skill showing a series of stunning attacks down a well set course that was tough enough to claim 21 skiers, including the defending race champion, several top seeded athletes and 55 percent of the U.S. entries.
Still, the top 11 were all within a second and the race remained competitive from the first racer through the 45th, Otmar Striedinger, the second fastest racer on the day. Winning was the Swiss Patrick Kueng – something that seemed laughable after last season when Switzerland could barely get close enough to the World Cup podium to even see it.
“Last season was very difficult for the whole team,” said Kueng. “I come back from an injury and at the end of season we changed some trainers. I did a lot of skiing in the spring. The (whole Swiss) group is fast in training and we are on the right way. … I have a really good setup now, I think the best service man.”
Ted Ligety, having proved he can ski super G with a gold medal at last season’s World Championships, collected fifth, finishing a mere tenth of a second behind Hannes Reichelt and Peter Fill, the deadlocked race leaders for much of the afternoon who ultimately tied for third. Ligety raced on the same skis he used to claim the world championship title in Schladming, but they didn’t deliver the same result.
That the day would be special was evident early. Bode Miller, the second starter, was exquisite on the highly technical upper portion of the track, serving as a model for the remainder of the field to follow, but he lost sight of a red gate he said blended with the backdrop of the fencing, hesitated and that scant moment left plenty of room to be overtaken. Not that overtaking him was easy. Fifth starting Fill, brimmed with confidence by a third place finish down the same slope in the downhill, found enough speed despite errors high on course, to take over the lead. Fill’s time held through the next 11 starters, and even then he was not beaten as Reichelt’s near perfection was only good enough to tie for the lead.
Ligety came two starters after Reichelt and held the lead in the early portion. One hiccup, sliding lower across a traverse, cost the World Champion, though he was just a tenth off.
Aksel Lund Svindal, the defending title holder in super G and the winner of the four consecutive previous super G races gave chase next and, as expected, gave spectators plenty of reason to cheer, but a mid course error cost the Viking dearly. He would finish seventh, his worst SG finish since March of 2012.
The next stunner was Kueng, skiing when others were already being interviewed by the press in the finish. He arced a gorgeous run from the 28th start to knock the tie down to second and Ligety off the podium.
But the most amazing result of the day, the remarkable attack from the back came from the 45th start from 22-year-old Otmar Striedinger to get second. It was his fourth career scoring finish.
“When I was a young boy my dream was to become a professional skier,” Striedinger said. He acknowledged the result would put some pressure on the older members of the Austrian ski team, noting that was “not my problem,” and explained, “When I hear that Patrick is in the lead with bib 28 I think, and our trainers tell us how good the snow is. I know I have to risk everything and that the snow is fast. It is amazing. I didn’t believe it.”
Jan Hudec, the top Canadian in 13th, nearly missed his run when a piece from his googles broke during the warm-up. He was able to borrow a pair of goggles from a Slovakian coach, but he still had to run back to his hotel room for a colored lens.
“That’s a typical day for me, a total gong show. I wasn’t upset so much as I was pissed that I was sweating in the start,” said Hudec through chuckles. “On one hand, I made some pretty sweet recoveries. On the other hand I was halfway to Vail on some of those, so it turned out even in the end.”
Hudec decided to risk a bit more on the course after watching the athletes with earlier start numbers.
“I knew Bode skied the top so well, and I watched his run from the tent, so that kind of inspired me to push the line. Then I watched him make that mistake down here and made a mental note of it, and I came through there and just got totally backseat squished and I was like, ‘Oh no, here we go,’ and pulled a Bode down here too,” added Hudec. “But it’s super G, you have to risk like crazy. You only have one inspection, and that’s what makes it exciting.”
Five of the nine U.S. entrants failed to finish, several with sprawling slides into the nets. Coach Sasha Rearick reported none sustained significant injury.
Men’s World Cup super G, Beaver Creek, USA Dec. 7, 2013. … It is the sixth of 34 races on the men’s 2013-14 World Cup schedule. … The second of six scheduled super G’s. … It is the 16th World Cup super G to be held at Beaver Creek and the second of three men’s World Cup races at the site this season. Matteo Marsaglia is the defending champion. Only two men have won two World Cup Beaver Creek super G’s, Hermann Maier (’97 & ’99) and Hannes Reichelt (’05 & ’07).
It is the first career World Cup win for Patrick Kueng. … He had placed second in downhill at Bormio Dec. 29, 2011 and third at Garmisch March 10, 2010. … His previous best result at Beaver Creek had been fifth in donwhill yesterday.
It is the fifth career World Cup scoring result for Otmar Striedinger, his previous best result a 17th in SG at Lake Louise Dec. 1.
It is the 25th career World Cup podium for Hannes Reichelt and second in two days. … It is the 11th career World Cup podium for Peter Fill and his second in two days.
It is the fourth best SG result for Ted Ligety bettered only by a second place result at Val d’Isere Dec. 12, 2009. … and a pair of fourth place results from the beginning of last season. … Jan Hudec matches his 13th best SG result. … It is his fourth best finish at Beaver Creek. … Bode Miller matches his third best SG result at Beaver Creek. … It is the second best SG result at Beaver Creek for Andrew Weibrecht. … It is the first career World Cup scoring finish for Morgan Pridy. … It is the second career SG scoring finish at Beaver Creek for Manuel Osborne-Paradis. … Erik Guay has finished 30th in two World Cup races, both at Beaver Creek, the first in 2003 and the second in 2013.
Aksel Lund Svindal (seventh in race) maintains the lead of the World Cup Overall standings 336-206 over Kueng. … Reichelt is third with 202pts. … Ted Ligety is the top American overall in sixth place with 169pt. … Jan Hudec (13th in race) leads the Canadians in 17th overall with 91pts… Kueng moves past Svindal to take the lead in the super G standings 145-136. … Matthias Mayer (tenth in race) is third with 106pts. … Ligety leads the US in 11th with 45pts and Hudec is 10th with 46pts. … Austria leads the men’s Nations Cup 1170-621 over Italy with France third with 616pts. … The U.S. is sixth with 328pts and Canada seventh with 249pts.
|Rank||Bib||FIS Code||Name||Year||Nation||Total Time||FIS Points|
|6||25||192504||MERMILLOD BLONDIN Thomas||1984||FRA||1:22.27||6.94|
|7||21||421328||SVINDAL Aksel Lund||1982||NOR||1:22.34||7.84|
|23||32||422139||KILDE Aleksander Aamodt||1992||NOR||1:23.38||21.20|
|46||67||491151||DE LA CUESTA Paul||1988||SPA||1:25.05||42.65|
|55||71||30149||SIMARI BIRKNER Cristian Javier||1980||ARG||1:27.11||69.12|
|Did not finish 1st run|
|10||191746||DE TESSIERES Gauthier||1981||FRA|