On a sunny spring day with the long, grueling season all but completed, a few of the men of the World Cup may have lacked a bit in focus. The Lenzerheide super G, with speeds reaching 100kph, seemed an unlikely place for that. But as the start order worked along and ruts started forming on the piste, racers finding the solid line the length of the course were few and far between.
The French walked away in celebration with one early starter, Thomas Mermillod Blondin, and the final starter, Alexis Pinturault, finishing second and first respectively. American Bode Miller was third, just a hundredth off Mermillod Blondin’s time.
“When I saw my time at the finish line it was just amazing,” said Pinturault. “I am really hopeful for the next season. I will work harder and hopefully continue in this direction. The goal in the future is to win the overall title, not to finish second or third.”
Starting fifth, Mermillod Blondin withstood all anyone save his teammate could throw at him, maintaining control of the leaders’ box for a good 40 minutes as the race unfolded behind him. Each time a skier failed to overtake him, his smile and enthusiasm grew. When Miller was denied by the smallest margin, he positively shook with anticipation of his first World Cup super G victory. There were four who didn’t finish and three who didn’t start. There were five more, including super G title winner Aksel Lund Svindal who finished more than two seconds behind and got bumped out of the points.
Svindal’s super G result spelled near certain disaster for his scant hopes for the overall crown as he was beaten in his primary discipline by Marcel Hirscher (the 12th place finisher). That cut Hirscher’s deficit for the overall in half, bringing it down to 19 points with two races remaining, both of which favor Hirscher.
As he accepted his third straight super G trophy, Svindal said, “I managed to make a mistake. This puts me out of the chase for the overall I’m afraid.” Then he ate a ham sandwich as he waited to fulfill his post-race obligations.
Miller in third led the U.S. team, but the effort was solid across the board. Ted Ligety was fifth, underscoring the fact that Lenzeheide’s speed track is one on which he knows he can excel. Travis Ganong finished ninth, the seventh top 10 in his last eight races.
“Even though I’m old, I’m not broken down. Mentally I think I’m just as tough as any of these kids. I know I’m capable of top skiing and my body is holding up great,” said Miller. “It’s been a tough year. This kind of capped it off. I was happy with my attack today. I definitely skied like I wanted to win the race, which has been a challenge all year. Every time I ski hard I crash or make big mistakes. Unfortunately today was no different, but I at least knew what was going to happen beforehand, that I wanted to go in there and ski like I wanted to milk every hundredth of a second out of the course that I could.”
Andrew Weibrecht couldn’t bring the steam from Sochi over to Lenzerheide, and he skied out. Erik Guay finished out of the points in 17th, and Manuel Osborne-Paradis was the first skier on course and also the first who failed to finish.
Ligety is optimistic about Saturday’s giant slalom race but still uncertain of his chances to reclaim the discipline title. He knows it’s something he’s going to have to fight for and also rely on a little luck in the process.
“I feel like I have a good chance of getting in there and winning on Saturday,” he said. “I don’t know how good of a chance I have of Marcel (Hirscher) not getting on the podium. It’s going to be tough to get the giant slalom globe in that respect. I have to ski really well and he has to not ski at his peak, so that’s not really something you can count on happening.”
See more photos from this race in our gallery here.
Men’s World Cup super G, Lenzerheide, Switzerland, March 13, 2014
Equipment – skis/boots/bindings
1 Pinturault, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
2 Mermillod Blondin, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
3 Miller, Head/Head/Head
4 Mayer, Head/Head/Head
5 Ligety, Head/Head/Head
6 Innerhofer, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
7 Janka, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
8 Jansrud, Head/Head/Head
9 Ganong, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
Men’s World Cup super G, Lenzerheide, Switzerland, March 13, 2014. … It is the third race of World Cup Finals where the fields are limited and points awarded to the top 15. … It is the 33rd race of the men’s schedule, the last of six scheduled super Gs. … It is the 36th World Cup race hosted at Lenzerheide, the seventh super G.
It is the seventh career World Cup win for Alexis Pinturault… his first in super G. … He has won in every discipline save downhill. It is the second French win at Lenzerheide, the first from Adrien Theaux in downhill March 16, 2011.
It is the fourth career World Cup podium for Thomas Mermillod Blondin and the first not in combined. It is the first French men one-two since Julien Lizeroux and J-B Grange in slalom at Kitzbuehel Jan. 25, 2009.
It is the 79th career World Cup podium for Bode Miller… his 12th in super G. … It is his fifth podium of the season including the Olympic bronze medal in super G. … It is also his fifth Lenzerheide podium and second in super G.
Ted Ligety matches his fourth best World Cup SG result. … He was also fifth at Beaver Creek in the first super G of the season. … It is the seventh World Cup top 10 in Travis Ganong’s career. … Six of those seven have come in his last eight races. … It is the third time in eight races at Lenzerheide that Erik Guay has finished outside the top 15.
With only two races remaining, Aksel Lund Svindal (16th in race) maintains the lead of the World Cup overall standings 1091-1072 over Marcel Hirscher (12th in race). … Alexis Pinturault regains third with 919 total points. … Ted Ligety is fourth overall with 869pts. … Bode Milleer is seventh with 647pts. … Erik Guay leads Canada in 13th with 440pts.
Svindal wins the super G title, his third straight, 346-259 over Kjetil Jansrud (eighth in race). … Patrick Kueng (15th in race) is third with 255pts. … Miller is fifth with 220pts and Jan Hudec (did not race) is top Canadian in 11th with 141pts.
Austria leads the men’s Nations Cup 5005-3432 over France. … Italy is third with 2954pts. … The U.S. is fifth at 2464pts and Canada tenth at 1057pts.
|Rank||Bib||FIS Code||Name||Year||Nation||Total Time||Diff.||FIS Points|
|2||5||192504||MERMILLOD BLONDIN Thomas||1984||FRA||1:14.27||+0.56||7.98|
|16||22||421328||SVINDAL Aksel Lund||1982||NOR||1:15.87||+2.16||30.77|
|Did not start 1st run|
|Did not finish 1st run|