The snows continued at Kitzbuehel, dropping a foot and a half on the village overnight and causing enough visibility problems that officials elected to run the race three hours later and lower the start. And still the snow fell hard during the early running of the super G rescheduled from Friday.
Many of the top technical skiers entered the race which would double as the first half of the Hahnenkamm combined – including Marcel Hirscher, Alexis Pinturault and Ted Ligety – racers who obviously were willing to take risks as the Olympics loom and chances to make moves up the World Cup standings dwindle.
Even with the start dropped to the Seidlalm jump, the Kitzbuehel speed track presented plenty of challenge. Veteran skiers jammed at the top of a very tight finish order where the top 34 were all within a second of the winner, 36-year-old Didier Defago.
Defago, the surprise 2010 Olympic downhill gold medalist, unseated Bode Miller from the first chair of the leader’s box before he could even reach his position. Miller held on for second. World Cup overall leader Aksel Lund Svindal tied Austrian Max Franz for the third spot, less than two tenths off the pace.
It was just Defago’s fifth career World Cup win, though he had previously won on the Streif, claiming the 69th annual Hahnenkamm downhill in 2009.
The tech skiers did not fare as well as they might have hoped. Pinturault sits in best shape for a shot at the combined win in 18th place, .69 behind the leader. Ligety sits 31st but may still benefit from a clean course once the speed specialists are removed from the start list for the slalom. Hirscher finished 56th, a second and a half out.
Travis Ganong topped the personal best he recorded less than 24 hours prior by finishing sixth from the 40th start.
Miller, as he had been Saturday, was one error away from the win. He had some difficulty coming off the road, but said it did not bother him nearly as much as Saturday’s mishap.
“I was okay today,” said Miller. “Five hundredths is not very much time. Just give me a break and let me win here one time. I’m okay with it. I skied hard today and just got beat. This super G didn’t give us a lot of chances to make up time. I skied really well, but couldn’t do anything else.”
With the snowfall drying up for most of the first seed and the light improving thereafter, some stunning results were recorded from back in the pack. Austrian Markus Duerager made the top 10 from the 55th start. With seven Austrian skiers listed among the top 15 skiers, Duerager’s performance will no doubt cost one of his teammates an Olympic start. Vincent Kriechmayr claimed 15th from bib 42.
The top Canadian placing went to Morgan Pridy, who finished 21st from the 33rd start and sealed his Olympic team nomination in the process.
View more photos from today’s race in our gallery.
Men’s World Cup super G, Kitzbuehel, Austria, Jan. 26, 2014
Equipment – Skier, skis/boots/bindings
1 Defago, Rossignol/Lange/Rossignol
2 Miller, Head/Head/Head
3 Svindal, Head/Head/Head
3 Franz, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
5 Clarey, Head/Head/Head
6 Ganong, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
8 Janka, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
9 Theaux, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
10 Duerager, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
Men’s World Cup super G, Kitzbuehel, Austria, Jan. 26, 2014. … It is the 22nd race of the men’s 34 race World Cup schedule… the fourth of six super G’s. … It is the front part of a super combined with a slalom scheduled later in the day as part of the 74th Hahnenkamm. … It is the 14th World Cup SG hosted by Kitzbuehel. … The race was originally scheduled for Friday, bumped because of weather conditions and replaced on the weekend slate by the slalom. Course shortened due to overnight snow, start at Seidlalm Jump.
It is the fifth career World Cup win for Didier Defago… his second in super G, the previous from Dec. 20, 2002 at Val Gardena. … It is his second win at Kitzbuehel having previously won the 2009 downhill. It is his fourth top 10 of the season and only podium. He is the defending Olympic downhill gold medalist.
It is the 78th career World Cup podium for Bode Miller… his 11th in super G. … It is his third podium of the season and second of the weekend having placed third in the downhill. … It is his eighth career podium scored at Kitzbuehel.
It is the 57th career World Cup podium for Aksel Lund Svindal… his 22nd in super G. … It is his seventh career Kitzbuehel podium including the super G win from last season.
It is the second career World Cup podium for Max Franz, the previous in SG at Lake Louise Nov. 24, 2012.
It is a career-best result for Travis Ganong… one placing better than was scored in DH one day earlier. … It is the second career World Cup scoring result for Morgan Pridy, the previous coming at Beaver Creek in super G Dec. 7, 2013. … It is the fourth score of the season for Steven Nyman… and the fourth for Andrew Weibrecht. … It is the eighth score of the season for Jan Hudec, his first since December.
Aksel Lund Svindal solidifies his grip on the World Cup overall standings 897-735 over Marcel Hirscher (56th in race). … Alexis Pinturault (18th in race) is third overall with 569pts. … Ted Ligety and Bode Miller are tied for sixth overall with 449pts each. … Erik Guay (did not race) leads Canada in 21st wth 261pts.
Svindal also leads the super G standings 296-162 over Defago. … Patrick Kueng (17th in race) is third with 159pts. … Miller is fourth at 138pts and Jan Hudec seventh with 128pts.
|Rank||Bib||FIS Code||Name||Year||Nation||Total Time||Diff.|
|3||17||421328||SVINDAL Aksel Lund||1982||NOR||1:10.53||+0.15|
|19||26||192504||MERMILLOD BLONDIN Thomas||1984||FRA||1:11.11||+0.73|
|36||51||194542||GIRAUD MOINE Valentin||1992||FRA||1:11.45||+1.07|
|48||30||191746||DE TESSIERES Gauthier||1981||FRA||1:11.75||+1.37|
|53||31||422139||KILDE Aleksander Aamodt||1992||NOR||1:11.82||+1.44|
|65||56||990116||DE ALIPRANDINI Luca||1990||ITA||1:12.39||+2.01|
|80||74||30149||SIMARI BIRKNER Cristian Javier||1980||ARG||1:13.59||+3.21|