With a World Cup globe on the line, the speed demons on the men’s tour charged down the Olympiabakken slope for the final regular season downhill, leaving all their energy on the hill. Thomas Dressen of Germany skied to the second World Cup win of his career at the Norwegian venue ahead of Switzerland’s Beat Feuz in second and Norway’s Aksel Lund Svindal in third.
“I think it was really smooth and nearly perfect run, and I just tried to let the skis run from the top to the bottom,” said Dressen. “And I think especially the mid and the lower section went perfectly, so I’m really happy. To see the green light in the finish is always the best feeling.”
Dressen stood sandwiched between the reigning World and Olympic champions in the discipline, a fact that hasn’t totally hit the German up-and-comer.
“To be honest, it’s really not real to me right now at the moment that it goes so well for me because when I think back some years ago, I was watching TV of these guys especially Aksel,” Dressen revealed.” I was really young back in the day when he was already winning races, so he’s really been a role model to me all my life and to share this victory with him and Beat on the podium is really a big honor to me.”
Feuz, who has worn the red leader bib for most of the downhill season, sat comfortably in the lead after coming down bib 5, but the German, wearing number 13, had other plans. He skied a smooth run under sunny skies earning the fastest time, 1:49.17. The Swiss skier, 0.08 seconds away from the win, was hoping to secure his first-ever discipline globe, on Saturday. However, with just 60 points between Feuz and Svindal the battle will continue into Are, Sweden, this week.
This is Feuz’s best downhill season ever. The 31-year-old has been on the podium in six of the eight World Cup downhill races this season including three wins, totaling 662 points. If all goes well at Finals, he could become the first Swiss man to win the downhill title since Didier Cuche, when he won the trophy in the 2010-11 season. His Norwegian rival is hoping to pull a last minute upset.
Svindal, who was 0.17 seconds away from the win, has a mathematical chance of winning the globe with 562 points. For example, if in Sweden, the Attacking Viking wins the downhill and Feuz crashes or lands outside the top six, Svindal will take the globe. It would not be an easy feat, but it is within the realm of possibilities for the Olympic gold medalist.
“I think now it’s up to Feuz…” Svindal said. “He can decide it, so I just have to do my race in Are and see what happens, but I’ve been faster before, so I think I have a fairly good chance. But on the other side, however that ends up, if I can have a good race in Are, then I’m still going to be happy. This has been a great season, and the downhill globe would be the frosting on the cake.”
Svindal’s teammate Kjetil Jansrud landed just off the podium in fourth place, 0.27 seconds away from the win and 0.1 seconds off the podium. It was a great show for the home crowd.
“It’s definitely nice to be able to race at home,” Svindal said. “I was a little surprised actually because we came here for the first training run, I started looking at video and see when’s the last time I skied here. I was like ‘2017? No. 2016? No.’ and then I had to go back to 2014, and I would say the course was very different today compared to the last time I skied it.”
The American contingent was led by Bryce Bennett, who skied to 17th place with a 1.49 second gap between him and Dressen. Jared Goldberg finished inside the points in 27th position. Wiley Maple finished in 42nd while Ryan Cochran-Siegle did not finish. Meanwhile, the Canadians had some strong results with Manuel Osborne-Paradis skiing to 14th place and young gun Benjamin Thomsen made an impressive jump from bib 53 to 16th place.
Men’s action continues in Kvitfjell with a super-G on Sunday.
- Thomas Dressen (GER) – Rossignol / Look / Rossignol
- Beat Feuz (SUI) – Head / Head / Head
- Aksel Lund Svindal (NOR) – Head / Head / Head
- Kjetil Jansrud (NOR) – Head / Head / Head
- Christof Innerhofer (ITA) – Rossignol / Look / Rossignol
- Mauro Caviezel (SUI) – Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
- Adrien Theaux (FRA) – Head / Head / Head
- Dominik Paris (ITA) – Nordica / Nordica / Nordica
- Vincent Kriechmayr (AUT) – Fischer / Fischer / Fischer
- Brice Roger (FRA) – Rossignol / Look / Rossignol
|Rank||Bib||FIS Code||Name||Year||Nation||Total Time||Diff.||FIS Points||WC Points|
|3||3||421328||SVINDAL Aksel Lund||1982||NOR||1:49.34||+0.17||1.95||60|
|19||36||422310||SEJERSTED Adrian Smiseth||1994||NOR||1:50.73||+1.56||17.86||12|
|20||16||422139||KILDE Aleksander Aamodt||1992||NOR||1:50.75||+1.58||18.09||11|
|41||29||512031||BARANDUN Gian Luca||1994||SUI||1:51.55||+2.38||27.25||0|
|Did not finish 1st run|
|Did not start 1st run|