There’s just something about Norwegians and super-G. In particular, Norwegians and the Lake Louise super-G. Attacking Viking Kjetil Jansrud took the opening super-G of the 2018-19 World Cup season on Sunday in Lake Louise, Canada, and made it seven years in a row where either he or his teammate, Aksel Lund Svindal, has come out on top on race day. The last non-Norwegian to win a super-G in Lake Louise was Switzerland’s Tobias Gruenenfelder in 2010.
Hot on Jansrud’s tails was up-and-coming Austrian star, Vincent Kriechmayr, who nearly matched Jansrud’s pace split for split before sliding 0.14 seconds back of the Norwegian for second place. Switzerland grabbed its first podium of the season with Mauro Caviezel finishing in third, 0.21 seconds off of Kjansrud’s winning pace.
“It’s hard to say because we kind of never look back,” a gracious Jansrud said of the Norwegian record in the finish. “Whenever you talk about things in a row, it’s just one more year for us. It’s weird to look at it in that way because we’re not defending anything. It’s not like we’re defending this as a Norwegian thing so we have to win. I think it says something about being in good shape in the early season and being willing to take the intensity and the risk. We are three guys in the top eight so it was a very strong team effort as well. It’s been so many years now it’s a little weird because it’s not a normal thing and it keeps on happening but I don’t really understand why.”
Jansrud rebounded from a lackluster 13th-place finish in Saturday’s downhill to take his first victory of the season. Jansrud has also won the World Cup super-G crystal globe each of the last two seasons and was happy to start his title defense on the right foot. The Norwegian also took the super-G globe in 2015.
“It’s hard to say,” he said of his expectations going into Sunday. “I was a little nervous coming up to this race. I didn’t feel very comfortable yesterday in the downhill. You never really know what the other racers have been doing in the summer and I haven’t been the fastest in training in super-G. I’m a little more nervous this year than the other years, but then again it tastes even better to get the win and get off on a good note. The globe has been mine in the last seasons and, naturally, I hope I can compete this year as well.”
“I wanted to be really aggressive and take a lot of risk out of the start and on the first flat,” he added of his winning run. “I think that’s one of my strengths. If I didn’t make it there then I thought Kriechmayr was going to ski really fast on the pitch. Looking at the analysis, that was not far from the truth so I’m just lucky that I got the few hundredths that I got.”
Kriechmayr ran two racers before Jansrud and looked to lay down the gauntlet, especially from the middle of the course to the finish, finding time through the Coaches Corner section that no racer had up until that point. Jansrud was able to hang on, however, and eek out the win over the 27-year-old Austrian.
“I was really happy with the downhill also; it was not easy yesterday, but I’m really proud of my result today,” Kriechmayr said. “At the beginning of the race I made some little mistakes but the middle part at Coaches Corner to the end, it was a really, really, good race for me. I’m happy with the second place but next time we have to beat Kjetil! To beat Kjetil (in super-G), you have to be fast from the start to the end. Hopefully I can bring something like that in Beaver Creek.”
Kriechmayr is the defending super-G winner from last season in Beaver Creek and will undoubtedly be looking to repeat that result next week in Colorado.
For Caviezel, the Swiss looked to be on his way to potentially unseat Jansrud from the winner’s circle before falling just short on the final runout to the finish. Sunday’s result was Caviezel’s first World Cup podium since finishing third in the super-G at Aspen World Cup finals in March of 2017.
“I’m really happy,” Caviezel shared. “It’s good to start the season with a podium for sure. I’m looking forward to the next races already but it feels really great. I just fought. I had some good training the last few weeks and maybe all together that made the difference. The goal is still to be on the podium, to be on the top, but it’s not so easy. The level is really high and you have to fight, especially for the super-G, you never know because you have to take risk. Sometimes you win but you lose more. I’m happy I’m on the podium so it’s just great.”
The Americans were led by another inspiring performance from Vermonter and 2018 Olympian, Ryan Cochran-Siegle, who charged from a high bib number for the second day in a row, finishing an impressive 12th from bib 39. Cochran-Siegle finished in 20th place from bib 54 in Saturday’s downhill. Following Cochran-Siegle in 17th place was Californian Travis Ganong, who continues his return from injury.
Thomas Biesemeyer finished in 41st, Steve Nyman 43rd, Wiley Maple 44th, Jared Goldberg 54th, Sam Morse 56th, and Nicholas Krause 57th to round out the American starters.
Canadian ski racing legend, Erik Guay, also took his fairwell run from World Cup skiing on Sunday, donning a “Canadian Tuxedo” as he shook hands with coaches and officials on his way down before carrying a Canadian flag across the finish line. Guay announced his retirement earlier this week.
The men’s tour now heads to Beaver Creek, Colorado for the Birds of Prey downhill, super-G, and giant slalom races Nov. 27-Dec. 2.
- Kjetil Jansrud (NOR) – Head/Head/Head
- Vincent Kriechmayr (AUT) – Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
- Mauro Caviezel (SUI) – Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
- Hannes Reichelt (AUT) – Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
- Aksel Lund Svindal (NOR) – Head/Head/Head
- Matthias Mayer (AUT) – Head/Head/Head
- Adiren Theaux (FRA) – Head/Head/Head
- Adrian Smiseth Sejersted (NOR) – Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
- Thomas Dresen (GER) – Rossignol/Rossignol/Look
- Beat Feuz (SUI) – Head/Head/Head
For complete FIS results, please click here.