Val Gardena: Hans Grugger wins super G; Macartney and Miller seven and eightVAL GARDENA, Italy — Austria’s Hans Grugger won a World Cup super G race for the first time Friday.

Grugger covered the Saslong course in 1 minute, 37.35 seconds. Erik Guay of Canada finished second, 0.31 seconds behind, and Ambrosi Hoffmann of Switzerland was third, 0.32 seconds back.

Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway finished fifth to take the lead with 412 points in the overall World Cup standings from defending champion Bode Miller, who placed eighth and trails by two points.

”I’m not thinking too much about the overall now,” Svindal said.

It was Grugger’s third World Cup win of his career, following downhill victories in Bormio and Chamonix last season.

”I’ve had some good results in downhill, but I’ve always wanted to get a good result in super G, especially in such an important season,” said Grugger, referring to the Torino Olympics from Feb. 10-26.

Starting 14th, Grugger benefited from changing conditions that slowed later starters such as Hermann Maier, who finished sixth, and the reigning super-G world champion Miller.

Miller’s American teammate, Scott Macartney, was the surprise of the day, finishing a career-best seventh despite starting 38th.

Hoffmann said he was worried about losing his podium place during Macartney’s run.
Italy’s Alessandro Fattori crashed midway through his run, slamming backward into the safety fencing. Teammate Kristian Ghedina, who led both downhill training sessions Wednesday and Thursday, skipped the super G to concentrate on his attempt at a record fifth win on the Saslong in Saturday’s downhill.

”Ghedina is skiing perfect right now, he’ll be tough to catch, but we’ll see what we can do,” said Guay, whose younger brother Stefan failed to finish in his World Cup debut.

Austria’s Fritz Strobl drew laughs from the crowd below when he tumbled headfirst over his skis shortly after pushing out of the start gate. He finished 60th and last – nearly 10 seconds behind Grugger.

Macartney, a 2002 Olympian and Dartmouth College graduate who was eighth three years ago in a combined calculation but whose previous best race result had been 24th in a 2002 downhill, finished in 1:37.85. A 2002 Olympian who came out of the Crystal Mountain program before graduating from Dartmouth, he said good course reports from coaches plus Rahlves and Miller helped set up his sparkling run.

‘Bode [running 30th] and Daron [28th] were just ahead of me and they called up, and the coaches had good reports’ he said. ‘I don’t know if I did anything different, but in the last few days I’ve been skiing solid and consistent … things have been going well.

‘I’ve skied here quite a few times – four or five, anyway – and I’ve had some good splits. I was second at the last interval, so I lost a little time on the bottom. But, overall, it’s sweet to be in the top 10.’

He was surprised by the race speed, Macartney said. ‘When I was looking at it [in prerace inspection], I thought there’d be a little more heat, but it ran a little to the opposite. The speed wasn’t super high anywhere.’

Miller, who had a big mistake at the bottom of the 2.4-kilometer run, finished in 1:37.96. Rahlves finished in 1:38.28 while Steve Nyman, starting 59th, was 18th. Marco Sullivan, injured early in the 2004 season, also had his best result since ‘03 as he finished 23rd.

‘Fantastic day for the young guns. We’re really super proud of what they did’ said U.S. head speed coach John McBride. ‘And I think this sets ‘em up nicely for [Saturday’s downhill]. ‘Scotty Mac’ had his career best by a long shot – even with that back-in-the-pack start, he just pinned it, Stevie Nyman’s still the new rock star, showing no intimidation on the gnarly courses … and, of course, Marco, I’m sure, got a big one off his back with his result. That was especially nice to see after what he’s been through.

‘I’m not sure what went wrong but Bode got smoked on the bottom of the course – he won the first split [by .05] and then was ninth, 13th and 19th, so we’ll have to go over the video and see what he did wrong … and ‘D’ [Rahlves] was fast on the bottom but he started slowly and couldn’t make it up’ McBride said.

McBride said conditions held up for the race while the overcast and flat light dissipated for later racers. The weather call is for greater cold Saturday and more precipitation during the downhill, which completes the annual men’s stop in Val Gardena before the tour moves on Sunday to its traditional giant slalom in Alta Badia.

Val Gardena race coverage – including Saturday’s downhill – will be televised Sunday at 5 p.m. ET on OLN.

– The Associated Press/USSA

Men’s super G
Val Gardena, Italy
Dec. 16, 2005

1. Hans Grugger, AUT 1:37.35
2. Erik Guay, CAN 1:37.66
3. Ambrosi Hoffmann, SUI 1:37.67
4. Kjetil Andre Aamodt, NOR 1:37.69
5. Aksel Lund Svindal, NOR 1:37.79
6. Hermann Maier, AUT 1:37.80
7. Scott Macartney, USA 1:37.85
8. Bode Miller, USA 1:37.96
9. Andreas Schifferer, AUT 1:38.14
10. Bruno Kernen, SUI 1:38.20
11. Daron Rahlves, USA 1:38.28
12. Michael Walchhofer, AUT 1:36.32
13. Didier Cuche, SUI 1:38.37
14. Marco Buechel, LIE 1:38.56
15. Christoph Gruber, AUT 1:38.58
16. Francois Bourque, CAN 1:38.65
17. Antoine Deneriaz, FRA 1:38.74
18. Steven Nyman, USA 1:38.75
19. Didier Defago, SUI 1:38.76
19. Stephan Goergl, AUT 1:38.76
21. Benjamin Raich, AUT 1:38.95
22. Peter Fill, ITA 1:38.98
23. Marco Sullivan, USA 1:39.12
24. Matthias Lanzinger, AUT 1:39.16
25. Walter Girardi, ITA 1:39.17
26. John Kucera, CAN 1:39.18
27. AJ Bear, AUS 1:39.22
28. Michael Gufler, ITA 1:39.24
29. Konrad Hari, SUI 1:39.30
30. Manuel Osborne-Paradis, CAN 1:39.34
Other North Americans:
45. Justin Johnson, USA 1:40.24
DNF: Stefan Guay, CAN

By Hank McKee

Men’s super G, Val Gardena, Dec. 16, 2005
Skier, skis/boots/bindings 1. Grugger, Head/Lange/Tyrolia 2. Guay, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic 3. Hoffmann, Stoeckli/Atomic/Atomic 4. Aamodt, Dynastar/Lange/Tyrolia 5. Svindal, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic 6. Maier, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic 7. Macartney, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon 8. Miller, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic 9. Schifferer, Fischer/Lange/Fischer 10. Kernen, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol

World Cup men’s Super G, Val Gardena (Groden), Dec. 16, 2005.

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