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Kitzbuehel: Hermann Maier wins super G as Rahlves looks for better luck Saturday

Kitzbuehel: Hermann Maier wins super G as Rahlves looks for better luck SaturdayKITZBUEHEL, Austria – Hermann Maier said the Kitzbuehel slope was ‘zugeschnitten’ and boy was he right. The German word seems to mean ‘custom-tailored’ and after his win Friday, Maier can now claim to have won five of the six super G races he has started in here on the slope that will host the legendary Hahnenkamm downhill Saturday.

Even with American coach John McBride setting the course in a way that was favorable for the would-be Maier killers on his team, the best they could do was a sixth from Daron Rahlves. Bode Miller skied out. The German word for that is ‘ausgeschieden.’

Miller, the reigning world super G champion, slid off course on a tricky turn in the top section and was forced to give up on a track that favored his risky style with no jumps until the end. Rahlves showed promise in the top section, carving out a 0.12-second lead, but lost precious time in the later sections.

After Rahlves, the next-best American in the race was Scott Macartney in 33rd. Marco Sullivan was 38th, Steve Nyman 42nd, Dane Spencer 44th and Justin Johnson 47th.

”Coaches always hope that setting the course will help our guys, but we just did not perform well today,” McBride said. ”Bode told me he had made a couple of mistakes early into the race, so he risked more. But he went off the line, where the snow was soft and bally,” McBride added.

Maier won in 1 minute, 22.97 seconds, edging Italy’s Peter Fill by five-hundredths. Austria’s Hannes Reichelt was third, 0.28 seconds back.

Guenther Mader was the winner of the first Kitzbuehel super G in 1995. Maier has won the super G here five times (2000, 2001, 2003, 2005 and now 2006). The 2003 race was the first win after his near-fatal motorcycle accident. And 2004 was the year Maier finished second to Rahlves by just three-hundredths. (The two traded positions the next year, 2005, with Maier beating Rahlves in the super G by just 0.02 seconds.)

‘I like this hill very well’ Maier said after his win Friday. ‘In every part I have good times. In the last part too, and the last part was very difficult, because there was one turn in the traverse.’

Three things you should know about Peter Fill: He won the 2002 world junior championship super G, he is a cousin of ladies’ tour skier Denise Karbon and his father owns a vegetable store. It looked like the 23-year-old Sudtiroler was going to get his first World Cup win until Maier trounced him.

“On this course especially he is unbelievable,” said Hans Knauss, the suspended Austrian skier who is now a commentator for national broadcaster ORF. “He knows where to make speed. No mistakes. It was a really top run for him for sure.”

It has been a tough week at the Austrian resort, with snowfall forcing the cancellation of the training runs on Wednesday and Thursday. But organizers did manage to get in one training run (on Tuesday, when Fritz Strobl was the fastest), so the Saturday Hahnenkamm race can go off as planned.

This was the fourth of just six super G races on the World Cup calendar this season. The previous ones were Lake Louise, Canada (Nov. 26); Beaver Creek, Colorado (Dec. 3); and Val Gardena, Italy (Dec. 17). Still up are Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany (Jan. 29); and Are, Sweden (at the Finals, March 16).

The racing continues tomorrow with the world-famous downhill on the Streif course, with the slalom following on Sunday. The downhill and slalom times will be combined for a ‘paper result’ the two races making up the Hahnenkamm combined trophy. Check in with for updates.

The Saturday downhill is the last chance Rahlves will have to win from the top. The Californian spoke at length about the significance of the Hahnenkamm and the tactics involved with winning it. Click here to read the interview.

Austrian head coach hospitalized
Toni Giger, the head coach of the Austrian men’s ski team, was hospitalized after crashing during jury inspection on the morning of the race.

Giger, 42, was skiing down the icy track when he crashed, ended up in the nets at the Laerchenschuss section and had to be evacuated by helicopter. He broke three vertebrae in his lower back and is reported to have watched Maier’s winning run from the Innsbruck University Clinic. It is unclear whether the injury will require surgery or not.

”Toni is OK, considering the circumstances. But he will have to follow the races on TV,” Austrian alpine director Hans Pum said.

Technical delegate from the Vail Valley impressed with what he sees
Greg Johnson of Beaver Creek has presided over the team captains’ meetings all week, serving as FIS technical delegate for the races. In October, Johnson became the first American-born official to serve in that role.

‘To see it with my own eyes, as opposed to what I’ve seen on TV, the terrain is much more amplified and more abrupt’ said Johnson, who arrived a week before the races and started scouting the slopes with FIS downhill boss Helmut Schmalzl. Johnson also visited the Kitzbuehel mountaintop museum, and was impressed with the history of the sport on display there – how deep it goes in the Tyrol region.

‘TV doesn’t quite get that, which is not against the networks, it’s just how it is’ said Johnson. ‘It’s very severe. Everything seems steeper, sharper and tilted on more of a sidehill. … It tends to dull your skis a little bit.’

Daron Rahlves gunning for a historic doubleheader
Daron Rahlves is ready to go on Saturday. ‘I enjoy the risk because it brings out the most in me’ he said at a Thursday press gathering organized by Atomic. ‘If something’s easy, you get kind of lazy. …This one is number one.’

If Rahlves wins the Kitzbuehel downhill on Saturday, he will be one of the proud company of skiers who have won the Lauberhorn and Hahnenkamm in the same year (in case you missed it, the man known as ‘D Money’ won the Wengen downhill last weekend).

In the 40-year history of the World Cup, seven men have won the two races in the same season (one of them did it three times in a row). Courtesy of Ski Racing’s database, still humming along in the Vermont woods, here are the racers that Rahlves is trying to join:

Roland Collombin, 1974
Stephan Eberharter, 2002
Marc Girardelli, 1989
Franz Heinzer, 1992
Jean Claude Killy, 1967
Lasse Kjus, 1999
Franz Klammer, 1975-1976-1977

Men’s super G
Kitzbuehel, Austria
Jan. 20, 2006

1. Hermann Maier, AUT 1:22.97
2. Peter Fill, ITA 1:23.02
3. Hannes Riechelt, AUT 1:23.25
4. Stephan Goergl, AUT 1:23.37
5. Klaus Kroell, AUT 1:23.44
6. Daron Rahlves, USA 1:23.46
7. Fritz Strobl, AUT 1:23.48
8. Ambrosi Hoffmann, SUI 1:23.61
9. Patrik Jaerbyn, SWE 1:23.52
10. Konrad Hari, SUI 1:23.53
11. Bruno Kernen, SUI 1:23.56
11. Bjarne Solbakken, NOR 1:23.56
13. Erik Guay, CAN 1:23.62
14. Aksel Lund Svindal, NOR 1:23.64
15. Andreas Schifferer, AUT 1:23.74
16. Antoine Deneriaz, FRA 1:23.75
17. Werner Heel, ITA 1:23.99
18. Christoph Gruber, AUT 1:24.05
19. Francois Bourque, CAN 1:24.10
20. Lasse Kjus, NOR 1:24.12
21. Didier Defago, SUI 1:24.14
22. Michael Gufler, ITA 1:24.20
23. Marco Buechel, LIE 1:24.24
24. Michael Lanzinge
r, AUT 1:24.28
25. John Kucera, CAN 1:24.33
26. Tobias Gruenenfelder, SUI 1:24.38
27. Michael Walchhofer, AUT 1:24.39
28. Walter Girardi, ITA 1:24.45
29. Alessandro Fattori, ITA 1:24.53
30. Stefan Thanei, ITA 1:24.55
Other North Americans:
33. Scott Macartney, USA 1:24.91
38. Marco Sullivan, USA 1:25.54
42. Steven Nyman, USA 1:25.77
44. Dane Spencer, USA 1:25.93
47. Justin Johnson, USA 1:26.18
49. Manuel Osborne-Paradis, CAN 1:26.28
DNF: Bode Miller, USA


By Hank McKee

Men’s super G, Kitzbuehel, Jan. 20, 2006
Skier, skis/boots/bindings 1. Maier, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic 2. Fill, Dynastar/Lange/Look 3. Riechelt, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic 4. Goergl, Fischer/Lange/Fischer 5. Kroell, Head/Lange/Tyrolia 6. Rahlves, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic 7. Strobl, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon 8. Hoffmann, Stoeckli/Atomic/Atomic 9. Jaerbyn, Fischer/Atomic/Fischer 10. Hari, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon

Men’s super G, Kitzbuehel, Austria, Jan. 20, 2006. … It is the 22nd event of the men’s 34 race, four combined World Cup schedule. … The fourth of six scheduled super G races. … The first of three events (plus a paper combined) scheduled at Kitzbuehel.

It is the 52nd career World Cup win for Hermann Maier. … His 23rd in super G. … His fifth SG at Kitzbuehel and his six Kitzbuehel race. He is fourth overall on the all-time World Cup win list for men and second behind Ingemar Stenmark. … He is the No. 1 Cup SG winner of all time. … Only Marc Girardelli and Pirmin Zurbriggen have won more races at Kitzbuehel. … It is his second win of the season, having taken the opening GS at Soelden in October.

It is the second career podium for Peter Fill, the second in a week, having placed third at the Wengen combined. … His previous best in SG had been fourth at Beaver Creek Dec. 7, 2003. … It is his fifth top 10 of the season, the first in SG, with the others either in combined or downhill. … No Italian has ever won a Kitzbuehel SG, though both Alessandro Fattori (Jan. 18, 2002; 29th in 2006 race) and Peter Runggaldier (Jan. 12, 1991) have also recorded second-place results. … Fill stopped a four-place Austrian sweep.

It is the fourth career World Cup podium for Hannes Reichelt, all of them in SG. … He won at Beaver Creek earlier this season (Dec. 1), was second at Groeden Dec. 20, 2002, and third at Lillehammer March 13, 2003. … He has scored in three disciplines this season, but his super G placings are better than in any other discipline.

It is the ninth time Daron Rahlves has been top six in a race at Kitzbuehel, including two wins and six podiums. … Other SG results for the season were third Lake Louise Nov. 27, fifth Beaver Creek Dec. 1 and 11th Val Gardena Dec. 16. … It is the first result at Kitzbuehel for Erik Guay. … He has two SG podiums this season, both second-place finishes, the first at Beaver Creek (Dec. 1) and at Val Gardena (Dec. 16). … It is the first result at Kitzbuehel for Francois Bourque. … It is his 10th scoring result of the season and third-best of four in SG. … It is also the first result at Kitzbuehel for John Kucera… His sixth World Cup score of the season, third in SG.

Benjamin Raich (31st in race) holds the World Cup overall standings lead 706-629 over Rahlves. … Michael Walchhofer (27th in race) is third at 604. … Maier moves to fourth overall with 577. … Aksel Svindal (14th in race) holds the SG lead over Guay 213-204. … Hannes Reichelt is third at 192 and Maier fourth at 182. … Rahlves is fifth at 169. … Winning margin is five-hundredths of a second. … Top 16 are within the same second. … Top 35 within two seconds.

What do you think?


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