It looked like Canadian Erik Guay was possibly seeking vengeance for disappointing Olympic results in Sochi. Fourth just one day earlier, on the opening morning of March in Kvitfjell, Norway, he came out of the start of the second downhill charging and never let up. Scrapped his way down the deceptively tricky Olympiabakken course, Guay collected his fifth career World Cup win and second of the season after claiming Val Gardena on Dec. 21. Taking a page out of Bode Miller’s book and executing better than Miller on this day, Guay pinched off a meter of course here and another meter there, registering the top speed as he flew into the final quarter-mile straight to the finish for a well-earned victory.
Frenchman Johan Clarey picked up second and Olympic champion Matthias Mayer, skiing flawlessly but without much risk in his line, placed third. American Travis Ganong, one day out from his first career podium, was a half a tenth from his claiming his second podium in as many days, but finished fourth.
Aksel Lund Svindal, with uncharacteristic small errors, placed sixth gaining just enough points to wrestle the lead of the World Cup overall standings away from a resting Marcel Hirscher, 942-955. With three races in Svindal’s wheelhouse (one downhill and two super Gs), but four that should favor Hirscher (slalom and giant slalom) the lead, he said, will need some padding. “Marcel is always among the top three,” he said.
While not as short as the lone training run or the race held Friday, Saturday’s race did begin at the super G start. The course was in better shape than it had been, but was still a bit rugged and provided plenty of challenge for the field. Small mistakes were compounded on the track where trying to generate speed proved next to impossible. The race had seven ties in total including a three-way tie for 17th.
“In the middle it is very soft,” said Guay. “I really have to thank my service man. I had a very good ski.”
It was only to the first split that Guay failed to take the lead, giving away .02 to the first timer, but from there, showing a willingness to take risk, he ripped and no one could really challenge him after that.
“It’s really fun skiing right now,” said Ganong. “I’m having a good time and the results are coming. Hopefully in Lenzerheide I can make that one last little step up to the top of the podium and then just carry all this momentum towards the World (Championships) in Beaver Creek. I’d like to continue on this streak, it’s really nice right now.”
Miller finished eighth, Marco Sullivan 24th, Steven Nyman 25th, Erik Fisher 32nd, Andrew Weibrecht 38th and Jared Goldberg 46th. For Canada, Jeffrey Frisch picked up his second best career result by finishing 17th. Manny Osborne-Paradis was 21st, Ben Thomsen posted 43rd and Jan Hudec 44th.
See more photos from this race in our gallery here.
Men’s World Cup downhill, Kvitfjell, Norway, March 1, 2014
Equipment – Skier, skis/boots/bindings
1 Guay, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
2 Clarey, Head/Head/Head
3 Mayer, Head/Head/Head
4 Ganong, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
5 Jansrud, Head/Head/Head
6 Zurbriggen, Rossignol/Lange/Rossignol
6 Svindal, Head/Head/Head
8 Miller, Head/Head/Head
10 Heel, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
Men’s World Cup downhill, Kvitfjell, Norway, March 1, 2014. … It is the 27th race of the men’s 35 race schedule with eight race remaining. … It is the eighth of nine scheduled downhills. … It is the 52nd World Cup race hosted by Kvitfjell, the 26th downhill and the second of three races slated at the site this season with a super G remaining.
It is the fifth career World Cup win for Erik Guay and his second at Kvitfjell having won a super G at the site March 7, 2010. … It is his third downhill win and second of the season having won at Val Gardena Dec. 21. … It is the 73rd World Cup win for Canada. … Guay matches Gerry Sorensen and Ken Read for fourth on the all-time Canadian World Cup win list… he trails Laurie Graham (6), Steve Podborski (8) and Nancy Greene (13).
It is a career-best World Cup result and the third career downhill podium for Johan Clarey. The bulk of his best finishes have come from early season races.
It is the third career World Cup podium for Matthias Mayer, the Olympic downhill champion. He has never won a World Cup but was second in the 2013 Kitzbuehel super G and this season’s Lake Louise super G.
It is the second best career World Cup finish for Travis Ganong, the best, a third, being scored yesterday on the same hill. … It is the seventh World Cup top 10 scored at Kvitfjell for Bode Miller. … It is the second best career placing for Jeffrey Frisch, and the second best scored at Kvitfjell having placed 12th at the site in DH in 2007. … Manuel Osborne-Paradis matches his eighth best placing at Kvitfjell. … He won a downhill at the site in 2009. … It s the sixth scoring result a Kvitfjell for Marco Sullivan. … It is the ninth career scoring result at Kvitfjell for Steven Nyman.
With eight races remaining, Aksel Lund Svindal (sixth in race) regains the lead of the World Cup overall standings 982-955 over Marcel Hirscher (did not race). … Svindal is the only skier in the top five who participated in the race. … Alexis Pinturault is third with 774pts. … Ted Ligety is fourth with 629pts, Bode Miller seventh with 496 and Guay climbs to 11th with 411pts.
With one race remaining, Svindal leads the downhill standings 515-360 over Hannes Reichelt (did not race). … Guay is third at 357pts… Miller seventh with 232pts.
Austria leads the men’s Nations Cup standings 4395-3012 over France. … Norway is third with 2441pts. … The U.S. is fifth with 1953pts and Canada tenth with 931pts.
|Rank||Bib||FIS Code||Name||Year||Nation||Total Time||Diff.||FIS Points|
|6||22||421328||SVINDAL Aksel Lund||1982||NOR||1:22.82||+0.65||10.84|
|31||51||194542||GIRAUD MOINE Valentin||1992||FRA||1:23.73||+1.56||26.01|
|47||62||491151||DE LA CUESTA Paul||1988||SPA||1:24.31||+2.14||35.68|
|56||64||422139||KILDE Aleksander Aamodt||1992||NOR||1:24.68||+2.51||41.85|
|Did not start 1st run|
|68||192504||MERMILLOD BLONDIN Thomas||1984||FRA|
|Did not finish 1st run|