For such a simple course, the World Cup Finals downhill at Lenzerheide sure took its toll on the men’s field. A quarter of the most elite skiers failed to even finish. The Silvano Beltrametti track does not have high speed, nor does it have any gliding sections or jumps. That pretty much leaves turns which was music to the ears of the lord of GS, American Ted Ligety.
Coupled with an early start number (4) on a course that would suffer the ravages of a bright March sun, Ligety linked stunningly beautiful turns the length of the course to take the early lead. He was matched by Christof Innerhofer and bested, by a scant 0.11, only by Olympic champion Matthias Mayer, but left the majority of the circuit’s top downhillers in disbelief. Six of 26 starters failed to finish, most of them with innocuous errors that caused them to get late in the turns and shut down their runs. A few – notably Georg Streitberger – got launched as skis loaded up when hooked on ruts, releasing their pilots from the grips of gravity.
Aksel Lund Svindal, already the season’s downhill champion before the race started, was among the few who performed well from late in the start order, managing fifth from bib 20 and regaining the lead of the overall standings in the process. He was happy to pick up his globe.
“For a downhill skier this globe is one of the biggest goals,” Svindal said. “The titles always feel really, really good.” His battle with technical skier Marcel Hirscher for the overall title “is almost too exciting. If I had to put money on one I have no idea who it would be.”
Ligety joined the ranks of skiers with podiums in all five disciplines, a feat that overshadowed his move into third place in the overall standings.
“To be on the podium in every single event now in my career is a pretty cool accomplishment,” said Ligety. Lenzerheide, he added, is one of the downhill courses he will always enter.
“It’ not a typical downhill hill, so it suits a guy that has more GSy skills like me,” noted Ligety. “I’m only a downhiller on specific hills.”
Travis Ganong finished sixth, capping a season which had closed out spectacularly with five straight downhill races in the top seven.
“I missed the timing on one turn down toward the bottom,” he lamented. “I feel I belong now. I’m skiing fast enough to win a race. Today at the bottom I lost so much time. This was really the first time all season we had the kind of snow we like.” Skiers were pushing hard, he said, leading to the high DNF rate among the season’s best skiers.
Bode Miller, who was the lone athlete who failed to finish Tuesday’s training run, squeezed inside the top 10 in eighth, while Manny Osborne-Paradis posted Canada’s top result in 13th.
Men’s World Cup downhill, Lenzerheide, Switzerland, March 12, 2014
Equipment – skis/boots/bindings
1 Mayer, Head/Head/Head
2 Innerhofer, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
2 Ligety, Head/Head/Head
4 Fill, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
5 Svindal, Head/Head/Head
6 Ganong, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
7 Viletta, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
8 Miller, Head/Head/Head
9 Janka, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
10 Theaux, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
Men’s World Cup downhill, Lenzerheide, Switzerland, March 12, 2014. … It is the opening race of World Cup Finals where the fields are limited and points awarded to the top 15. … It is the 32nd race of the men’s schedule the last of nine scheduled downhills. … It is the 35th World Cup race hosted at Lenzerheide, the 12th downhill.
It is the first World Cup win for Matthias Mayer, but his second win of the season after capturing the Olympic gold medal in downhill. His top six results have all come this season.
It is the 12th World Cup podium result for Christof Innerhofer. … His third of the season including an Olympic bronze medal in combined.
It is the 35th World Cup podium for Ted Ligety and his first in downhill. … He and Bode Miller are the only U.S. men to have podiums in all disciplines. … It is his ninth podium of the season including a gold medal Olympic result in GS.
It is the fourth top six World Cup result for Travis Ganong, all of them this season and all of them since Jan. 26 (Kitzbuehel). … It is the 11th time Bode Miller has finished eighth or better this season, including three Olympic finishes. … Manuel Osborne-Paradis has his fifth best result of the season… the 11th best of the season for Erik Guay.
Aksel Lund Svindal (fifth in race) leads the World Cup overall standing 1091-10050 over Marcel Hirscher (did not race). … Ted Ligety is third with 824pts. … Bode Miller is eighth overall with 557pts. … Erik Guay is top Canadian in 13th with 408pts.
Svindal wins the downhill title 570-360 over Hannes Reichelt (did not race due to injury). … Guay is third with 357pts. … Miller is eighth with 264pts.
Austria leads the men’s Nations Cup 4904-3252 over France. … Italy is third with 2870. The U.S. is fifth with 2330 and Canada tenth with 1057pts.
|Rank||Bib||FIS Code||Name||Year||Nation||Total Time||Diff.||FIS Points|
|5||20||421328||SVINDAL Aksel Lund||1982||NOR||1:30.19||+0.20||3.04|
|14||5||422310||SEJERSTED Adrian Smiseth||1994||NOR||1:31.46||+1.47||22.38|
|Disqualified 1st run|
|Did not finish 1st run|