In the ongoing battle for the overall and super-G crystal globe, Austria’s Vincent Kriechmayr now has the lead, overtaking France’s Alexis Pinturault and Austria’s Matthias Mayer. Kriechmayr has had a solid start to the season, having earned a podium in both the Beaver Creek downhill and the Lake Louise super-G. Friday’s win under tough conditions on the notorious Saslong track gave Kreichmayr just enough to pull ahead in the standings and win his first race of the season. He was victorious by 0.05 seconds over Norway’s Kjetil Jansrud.
All three of the podium finishers, Kreichmayr, Jansrud, and Germany’s Thomas Dressen started in the top 20 racers, which is significant since after Italy’s Mattia Casse skied down in bib 20, the race was interrupted by heavy fog for close to two hours.
The jury and organizing committee apparently felt confident that the fog would lift, and the “official start decision” continuously was pushed back 10 to 15 minutes at a time. For the men who skied in the first half of the race, the wait was long in finish as they patiently sat, hoping their positions would hold. The top 10 men of the day were incredibly packed in. Behind Dressen, most times differed by only hundredths of a second, meaning that Friday’s shortened super-G course was anybody’s ball game.
“The ride was very good, of course I hope that the race will continue, but of course it has to stay fair,” said Kreichmayr as he waited in the leader seat. “It would be unfair to let the rest of the athletes start in this fog, but I hope it continues. I think I got it well, the ground visibility was bad, but at least I didn’t have any fog. ”
For the rest of the field, staying warm, loose, and focused at the start was of top priority. And for those fans who stuck around to watch the end of the race, they were not disappointed. The back of the pack put on a show as multiple men punched it in to the top 20 racers. Steven Nyman, who started in bib 29, made the best play for a podium spot, consistently hanging on to, or gaining speed in sections of the course where the rest of the field consistently lost hold of their line. Just one mistake in the Ciaslat meadow cost Nyman a top 10. He finished 13th overall, 0.63 off Kreichmayr’s winning pace.
“My boots were starting to hurt they were on for so long,” joked Nyman in the finish after the race. “I skied really well aside from one mistake, and they say if it wasn’t for that I could have been on the podium. But I’m really happy with the way I executed overall. This super-G is always a sprint race, you gotta really gun.”
Nyman’s teammate, World Cup up and comer, Sam Dupratt, was the only other American to finish in the top 30. Dupratt earned his first ever World Cup points in Kitzbuehel last season, when a spot for the super-G became available last minute and he was the next in line. Dupratt’s 2019/20 season has started off with less heat, and some results that the 26-year-old claims to be disappointed with. Although Friday’s super-G’s race was grueling, Dupratt kept his cool and finished 22nd overall, the best World Cup finish of his career.
“Today was awesome,” exclaimed Sam. “Hats off to the organizer for pushing so hard to make this happen and sorry to the athletes that got cut off. Definitely the longest day in my skiing career. I had my boots off eating an apple strudel and drinking a cappuccino 10 minutes before I raced. It was super hard to be focused for so many hours leading up to it. I really needed this race to happen since my season has started off poorly. I tried to use that motivation from being slow in the past few races to fuel the focus and desire to send it in less than ideal conditions.”
“Super stoked to score my personal best this week but planning to keep the ball rolling,” Sam continued. “This was only my fifth World Cup super-G start, so it really helps to have some results to help convince myself that I belong here and that I can ski with the best skiers in the world.”
Switzerland’s Gino Caviezel, younger brother to Mauro Caviezel (Friday’s fourth-place finisher), also punched it in from the back, skiing 14th overall from bib 42. Canadian James Crawford had a career-best finish in the super-G, finishing in 17th from bib 41.
Although the course was set by a Norwegian coach, Jansrud came up a tad short at a venue that has become notoriously dominated by the Norwegian men.
“That’s a very, very good result for me right now,” said Jansrud, the 2014 Olympic super-G champion. “Now I can take it a little easier with the nerves and get ready for tomorrow’s downhill and hopefully be fast then, too.”
At the end of the day, the last 16 men on the starting list did not get to start their runs due to fog, including the USA’s Jared Goldberg and Tommy Beismeyer. The Canadian Brodie Seger, who has repeatedly been able to punch it into the top 30 from starting positions in the 50s, also did not get to start the race.
The plan remains for the men to start the downhill in Val Gardena on Saturday, December 21st at 11:45 Central European Time.
- 1. Vincent Kriechmayr (AUT): 1:13.84 – Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
- 2. Kjetil Jansrud (NOR): +0.05 – Head/Head/Head
- 3. Thomas Dressen (GER): +0.22 – Rossignol/Lange/Look
- 4. Mauro Caviezel (SUI): +0.35 – Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
- 5. Dominik Paris (ITA): +0.36 – Nordica/Nordica/Marker
- 6. Hannes Reichelt (AUT): +0.38 – Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
- 7. Johan Clarey (FRA): +0.54 – Head/Head/Head
- 7. Aleksander Aamodt Kilde (NOR): +0.54 – Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
- 9. Beat Feuz (SUI): +0.55 – Head/Head/Head
- 10. Adrien Theaux (FRA): +0.58 – Head/Head/Head
For full race results, click here.