Some, but not all, of the magic was scrubbed off the 84th Lauberhorn when nature reminded us all of just who is in charge here.
High winds on the upper reaches of the famed course resulted in some last-minute scrambling, forcing organizers to move the start down to Canadian Corner, cutting off four and a half football fields’ worth of real estate from what is normally the longest downhill on the World Cup circuit. That pretty much changed everything, including many aspects of line choice as well as chopping more than a minute off the time, essentially producing a sprint.
It worked out well for the hosting Swiss who came to celebrate the event and pack the finish stadium. The bonus was their own Patrick Kueng claiming the win with a well executed run in what was an extremely tight race with the top-15 skiers all within the same second.
Austrian Hannes Reichelt was second, frustratingly for the third time this season. Austria has not won a downhill since Dec. 29, 2012. Tour leader Aksel Lund Svindal posted third, Max Franz was fourth and Bode Miller led the U.S., matching his best speed finish of the season in fifth.
“Bode was four tenths out on the top and then he pushed hard, took a lot of risk and made up time,” said head men’s coach Sasha Rearick. “With that risk he still made some little mistakes, but was pushing hard and letting his skis go. In the Zeil S at the bottom, he got caught back moving over the roll and that’s what cost him a couple of tenths, but it’s nice to see Bode pushing hard in downhill.”
The Lower portion of course, in particular, turned rugged, bumpy enough to collect Carlo Janka’s ski as it released just above the finish. Declining light did not enhance the day for the later skiers either. All of that was of no concern to American Jared Goldberg, who started in bib 40 and charged to the 12th-place finish.
“I’ve been doing well in sections this whole year; but the hard thing is that a lot of the tracks it was my first time there, and I was just trying to learn the track. But this is my second year here and I’ve been down it a few more times. I just feel really comfortable on this hill. The snow was holding up decent so it was something I could really push on and the light didn’t get any worse,” said Goldberg. “I’ve been training some tech, and it’s really helped me work on my skiing and feel more balanced. I was able to attribute that to making good turns. You don’t really see it on TV, but one of the most important parts of the course for carrying your speed is right before you go down the Honeggschuss. I saw the ruts and I just tried to cut inside them and push the line as much as I could.”
Canadian Erik Guay had an uncharacteristic series of mistakes before finally missing a gate and exiting the course without a time.
“We have to be satisfied that there has been a race – and a fair race,” said Svindal, just .01 behind Reichelt and .07 off Kueng’s winning time.
To see photos from this race click here.
Men’s World Cup downhill, Wengen, Switzerland, Jan. 18, 2014
Equipment – Skier, skis/boots/bindings
1 Kueng, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
2 Reichelt, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
3 Svindal, Head/Head/Head
4 Franz, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
5 Miller, Head/Head/Head
6 Mayer, Head/Head/Head
7 Fill, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
9 Clarey, Head/Head/Head
10 Feuz, Head/Head/Head
10 Defago, Rossignol/Lange/Rossignol
Men’s World Cup downhill, Wengen, Switzerland, Jan. 18, 2014. … It is the 18th of 34 races on the men’s schedule. … The fifth of nine scheduled downhills. … It is the 84th Annual Lauberhorn Downhill… high winds force shortening of the course.
It is the second career World Cup win for Patrick Kueng, the first was also this season, in SG at Beaver Creek Dec. 7. … His previous best at Wengen in DH was tenth from 2012.
It is the 27th World Cup podium placing for Hannes Reichelt… his fourth of the season. … He has placed second in three downhills this season. … He was third in the Wengen DH last season and second in 2012, giving him three straight seasons on the podium.
It is the 55th career World Cup podium for Aksel Lund Svindal… his fifth of the season (the other four being wins). … It is his second career podium at Wengen, the other a third in combined in 2011.
It is the 110th time Bode Miller has finished in the top five of a World Cup… the third time this season… the 13th time at Wengen. … It is the third career World Cup score for Jared Goldberg and his second in two days. … It is a career-best result for Goldberg. … It is the fourth score of the season, and matches his season’s best finish for Marco Sullivan. … He matches his sixth best result at Wengen. … Travis Ganong matches his second best Wengen result from 2011. … It is his seventh score of the season and fifth of the season in downhill.
Aksel Lund Svindal extends his lead in the World Cup overall standings to 757-675 over Marcel Hirscher (did not race). … Ted Ligety (did not race) is third overall with 433pts. … Bode Miller (fifth in race) is eighth overall with 304pts and Erik Guay (DNF) tenth with 261pts. …
Svindal leads the DH standings 360-260 over Hannes Reichelt. Kueng is third in the DH standings with 221pts. Guay is fourth with 207pts. Miller is 11th with 123pts.
Austria leads the Nations Cup 2892-1945 over France. … Italy is third with 1730pts. … The U.S. is sixth with 1126pts and Canada ninth with 663pts.
|Rank||Bib||FIS Code||Name||Year||Nation||Total Time||Diff.||FIS Points|
|3||16||421328||SVINDAL Aksel Lund||1982||NOR||1:32.73||+0.07||1.03|
|48||49||194542||GIRAUD MOINE Valentin||1992||FRA||1:34.78||+2.12||31.34|
|Disqualified 1st run|
|Did not start 1st run|
|Did not finish 1st run|