There was a lot to like about the first men’s super G of the season, the Winterstart event at Lake Louise Sunday (Nov. 27). Norwegian veteran Aksel Lund Svindal won the race for the third time in his career, unseating Saturday’s downhill winner Didier Cuche from the winner’s box and Frenchman Adrien Theaux got his country’s second podium of this early season.
The home standing Canadians got two daddies in the top 10, Jan Hudec, returning from injury screamed from the 44th start to claim fourth while Erik Guay started and wound up sixth.
The Americans, too, had reason to smile, if not cheer. Bode Miller, as he has so often in his career, got the best finish for the squad in ninth, but Marco Sullivan after missing the bulk of last year, got 17th. Tommy Ford rode an early bib to finish 22nd. Travis Ganong posted 28th and Andrew Weibrecht 30th. Ryan Cochran-Siegle left the finish believing he had gotten points in his first completed Cup race, but got bumped to 31st when the 64th starter, Canadian Benjamin Thomsen finished 27th.
These were not the only points scored from the back of the pack as a wet snow packed into a glaze with racer traffic. Johan Clarey started 61st and made the top 10. Sixty starting Manuel Kramer of Austria posted 12th and 65th starting Siegmar Klotz of Italy finished 13th.
The track may have gotten faster, but not fast enough to unseat Svindal, Cuche and Theaux, three guys who earned the big points by skiing better than everyone else.
“On days like this the weather is going to make a big difference,” said Svindal, referring to a steady snowfall. “At the beginning of the day nobody knew if was going to be the early numbers that had an advantage. There’s just no way of knowing.”
He said his run had been far from perfect, but added, “With this kind of snow it doesn’t really matter if you are a meter off here or a meter there. It is how gentle you are with the snow and how you are able to carry your speed.”
In fact, both Svindal and Cuche had notable difficulties at about the same place on the course. “I was pushing hard,” said Cuche, “because I knew those were the challenging turns for the whole run. I reached the limit with the angle and both skis (slid) out. Aksel was also a bit at the limit there but I think he carried more speed through the flat section.”
For American Sullivan it was great just to be back in a race again after losing last season to a head injury and opening with a 24th in the downhill here. “This was one of those courses that didn’t feel good while you were on it. Because of the soft snow it got pretty chopped up and you just had to keep battling because you knew everybody else was probably feeling the same way. I came down with intent and I’m definitely happy about that after a pretty long break.”
Cochran-Siegle will look back at this as a race that got away. “It was fun it was bumpy. I definitely could have done better, but people are still throwing it in there,” he said as the start order moved through the 50’s, “So it’s definitely do-able.”
Unfortunately for Cochran-Siegle, it was do-able for three more guys and he lost out on scoring points in his first completed World Cup by a hundredth of a second.
Aksel Lund Svindal photo by Gepa
by Hank McKee
Men’s World Cup super G
Lake Louise, Canada
Nov. 27, 2011
1 Svindal, Head/Head/Head
2 Cuche, Head/Head/Head
3 Theaux, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
4 Hudec, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
5 Kroell, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
6 Guay, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
7 Puchner, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
8 Mayer, Head/Head/Head
9 Miller, Head/Head/Head
10 Clarey, Head/Head/Head
Men’s World Cup super G, Lake Louise, Canada, Nov. 27, 2011. … It is the third race of the men’s 45 race 2011-12 World Cup schedule. … the first of eight scheduled super G’s. … It is the second of a two race set at Lake Louise, the 82nd World Cup race hosted by the resort and the 30th super G. …
It is the 15th career World Cup victory for Aksel Lund Svindal. … his sixth in super G and his third in SG at Lake Louise. … It is his third score of the season in three races contested.
It is the 62nd career World Cup podium for Didier Cuche. … his 21st in super G. … It is his sixth career Cup podium at Lake Louise and second in two days having also won the DH Nov. 26. … It is his best SG finish at Lake Louise, though he has placed third three times.
It is the fourth career World Cup podium for Adrien Theaux and his second in SG. … It is his first podium at Lake Louise. … All four of his podiums have come since Dec. 4 2010.
It is the third best career World Cup result for Jan Hudec, and is a career best in SG. … It is his second best result at Lake Louise having won the DH at the site in 2007. … It is the 32nd time Erik Guay has placed sixth or better in a World Cup race. … 17th time in SG. … It is the third time he has finished sixth in a race at Lake Louise. … He has been better three times. … It is the 148th time Bode Miller has placed in the top 10 of a World Cup race. … 23rd time in SG. … the 19th time he has finished in the top 10 at Lake Louise. … Marco Sullivan matched his 43rd best career World Cup result. … and matched his ninth best in SG. … It is the fifth career scoring result for Tommy Ford. … his second in SG. … It is the fifth scoring result for Benjamin Thomsen. … his first in SG. … It is the seventh career scoring result for Travis Ganong. … his third in SG. … Three of his seven scoring results have come at Lake Louise. … It is his second score of the season and in two days. … It is the 17th career World Cup scoring result for Andrew Weibrecht. … his fifth in SG.
Cuche leads the World Cup overall standings 180-140 over Svindal. … Theaux and Ted Ligety are tied for third with 100pts. … Hudec leads Canadian men in 11th place with 72pts. … Austria leads the men’s Nations Cup 580-388. … France is third with 372 and the U.S. fourth at 225. … Canada is sixth with 131pts.
|Rank||Bib||FIS Code||Name||Year||Nation||Total Time||FIS Points|
|1||26||421328||SVINDAL Aksel Lund||1982||NOR||1:23.47||0.00|
|Did not start 1st run|
|Did not finish 1st run|
|24||191746||DE TESSIERES Gauthier||1981||FRA|