In 2014, the center section of the Kvitfjell super G course, a fast series of high speed turns set over terrain and covered with a wet, icy surface coated with a dusting of fresh snow, did not go well for much of any racer. Those who limited the damage through the core of the Olymiabakken course led the way.
It was of no matter to Aksel Lund Svindal, clinching his second World Cup discipline title in two days, with a fourth place finish Sunday, nor for younger teammate Kjetil Jansrud, the race winner who used knowledge of his home hill to build a lead so large that losing time through the S-turns and over the compression in the middle of the track that he still had enough margin to stop Swiss Patrick Kueng from claiming the win.
“It was very tough today, I felt good on start but heard Aksel’s split times and he was fast on top but lost a lot of time at the bottom,” Jansrud said.
Olympic downhill champion Matthias Mayer skied as exquisitely as he had in Sochi to secure third.
Kueng, the 16th starter on a grey, overcast day, came as close to mastering the middle section of the course as anyone and was rewarded with the early lead. The seventh starter, Bode Miller, was quicker than Kueng until he reached that problematic middle section, when he got bounced wide by a compression and dipped back further afterward, winding up 12th on the day.
“It was difficult. The track was slow in a lot of places, then down bottom it sped up a lot and it was pretty dark and bumpy once you got out of the trees,” said American Andrew Weibrecht.
Mayer followed up Miller and he, too, got pushed a bit wide of the track, just enough to keep him behind Kueng. Svindal then tried his best to work the course he knows well. He was fabulous early on the track, building 0.60 seconds of a lead two intervals in, but that lead evaporated as he overcooked the center of the course and rode it in.
Svindal’s placing was plenty enough to cement the super G title. He holds a 346-239 point lead over Kueng with one race remaining. Svindal had locked up the downhill crown Saturday, and now has his third straight SG title. He also bumped up his lead in the overall standings to 1032-955 over Marcel Hirscher. Hirscher did not compete in Kvitfjell and has an advantage in the rest of the World Cup schedule with four technical races remaining to the two speed races that will likely favor Svindal.
“The aim here was top 3 and I had 4, 5, 6 – that’s cutting it close, but not good enough,” Svindal said. “The downhill and super G titles are two beautiful things. In the battle for the overall my situation has deteriorated a little. My average in the speed disciplines was reaching the top 3, that’s what Marcel has done in the technical competitions. If he can keep that, then it does not look good for me.”
The race was far from over with Svindal’s run. Adrien Theaux added some drama with a butt slide for several long meters before recovering and finishing. This left Jansrud waiting in the start house as snow started falling and workers repaired a damaged gate.
Jansrud trained at Kvitfjell as he moved through the Norwegian ranks and took the delay, and snowfall, in stride. He was incredibly high on course, amassing a 0.79 lead at the second interval despite it getting whittled down though the center of the track. With the crowd in full approval, he delivered the win, never dropping below the intervals Kueng had filed. It was the second win out of three races at Kvitfjell this season for Jansrud.
The difficulty of the course on this given day was underscored when Ondrej Bank went down hard, exploded out of his skis and sprawled to a stop, clutching his left knee.
Travis Ganong, too, failed to finish as his skis bounced out, apparently getting caught up in ruts and he elected to shut down the run, skiing to the side. Christof Innerhofer, too, failed to finish.
But Weibrecht, surprise Olympic silver medalist, showed his skiing in Sochi was no fluke as he notched his career-best World Cup placing, finishing seventh to better a 10th-place result from Beaver Creek in 2011 .
“It’s nice to carry the momentum of the Games, the good skiing that I had there, and prove to myself that it wasn’t a one-shot deal and that I can come out and ski fast every day,” said Weibrecht. “It was a good run. I had some mistakes, but I had some fast skiing too so I’m happy with the way that I skied. I wish that I’d been a little bit cleaner, but now I get another shot at the Finals.”
Weibrecht was able to finish inside the top 25 in the super G standings, securing a start in World Cup Finals, where he will be joined by Bode Miller, Travis Ganong, and Ted Ligety, who, despite not racing in favor of training in central Europe was already assured a start in the SG in Lenzerheide, Switzerland.
U.S. coach Sasha Rearick was pleased with the performance of at least three of his athletes.
“It was nice to see the boys come to play after the Olympics,” said Rearick. “That was an emotional, stressful and tiring few weeks in Russia and it’s awesome to see Andrew, Travis (Ganong) and Bode keep the energy level high into the final few weeks of the season.
“What Travis did in both these downhills was impressive. He’s starting to establish himself in that top group of speed skiers and I think we’ll see that continue into World Cup Finals. Andrew has always had this speed and it’s good to see him put down the best World Cup finish of his career after such a strong Olympic result.
“I’m also really proud of Bode. The results here were not what he wanted, but he’s skiing well and I’m stoked to see him head into his first World Cup Finals since he won the overall title in 2008. He’s going to meet up with Ted [Ligety] now and get ready for Kranjska Gora before going to Lenzerheide.”
Manny Osborne-Paradis was the top Canadian, just behind Weibrecht in eighth, and Saturday’s downhill winner Erik Guay squeezed inside the top 1o in ninth.
Men’s World Cup super G, Kvitfjell,Norway, March 2, 2014
Equipment – Skier, skis/boots/bindings
1 Jansrud, Head/Head/Head
2 Kueng, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
3 Mayer, Head/Head/Head
4 Svindal, Head/Head/Head
5 Kriechmayr, Head/Head/Head
7 Weibrecht, Head/Head/Head
8 Osborne-Paradis, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
9 Marsaglia, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
9 Guay, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
Men’s World Cup super G, Kvitfjell, Norway, March 2, 2014. … It is the 28th race of the men’s 35 race World Cup schedule with seven races remaining. … It is the fifth of six scheduled super G’s. … It is the 52nd World Cup race hosted by Kvitfjell… the 22nd super G.
It is the third career World Cup win for Kjetil Jansrud, all of them coming at Kvitfjell and two of them this season. He also won the March 4, 2012 super G at the site. He is also the Olympic SG champion. All of his wins have come since Feb. 16.
It is the fifth career World Cup podium for Patrick Kueng… his second in SG. … It is his third podium of the season, the other two both wins, in DH at Wengen Jan. 18 and in SG at Beaver Creek Dec. 7. … He was also second in SG at Lake Louise Dec. 1, and won the Olympic downhill Feb. 9.
It is a career-best World Cup placing for Andrew Weibrecht, topping his previous mark of tenth accomplished twice, both at Beaver Creek (DH Nov 2007 and SG Dec. 2011). … He also captured the silver medal in SG at the Olympics Feb. 16. … It is the career-best SG result at Kvitfjell for Manuel Osborne-Paradis, though he owns five better DH results at the site. He has only been better in SG once, when he won at Lake Louise in 2009. … It is the 14th World Cup top 10 scored at Kvitfjell for Erik Guay. It is his 11th top 10 of the season, including the Olympic DH. … He was top 10 in all three Kvitfjell races this season. … It is the eighth best Kvitfjell finish in Bode Miller’s career… his 12th best of 20 scoring finishes this season… his fourth best SG finish. … It is the fourth best of seven World Cup SG finishes at Kvitfjell for Jan Hudec. … It is the second World Cup score and third finish of the season for Benjamin Thomsen.
With seven races remaining races, Aksel Lund Svindal leads the World Cup overall standings 1032-955 over Marcel Hirscher (did not race). … Alexis Pinturault is third wit 744pts. … Ted Ligety is fourth with 629 and Bode Miller eighth with 518pts. … Erik Guay leads the Canadians in 12th with 440pts.
With one race remaining, Svindal leads the super SG standings 346-239 over Patrick Kueng and cannot be overtaken for his third straight SG title. … Kjetil Jansrud is third in super G with 227pts. … Bode Miller is sixth with 160pts and Jan Hudec eighth with 141pts.
Austria leads the men’s Nations Cup 4568-3035 over France with Norway third at 2615pts. … The U.S. is sixth at 2011pts and Canada ninth at 1014pts.
|Rank||Bib||FIS Code||Name||Year||Nation||Total Time||Diff.|
|4||19||421328||SVINDAL Aksel Lund||1982||NOR||1:31.83||+0.44|
|11||27||422139||KILDE Aleksander Aamodt||1992||NOR||1:32.17||+0.78|
|15||25||192504||MERMILLOD BLONDIN Thomas||1984||FRA||1:32.52||+1.13|
|24||49||194542||GIRAUD MOINE Valentin||1992||FRA||1:33.08||+1.69|
|26||54||990116||DE ALIPRANDINI Luca||1990||ITA||1:33.14||+1.75|
|53||61||491151||DE LA CUESTA Paul||1988||SPA||1:34.80||+3.41|