LAKE LOUISE, Alberta – Just like last November, an Attacking Viking once again swept the men’s World Cup race weekend in Lake Louise. But this year the headline was passed from Kjetil Jansrud back to the King of Lake Louise, Aksel Lund Svindal. By winning Sunday’s super G, the Norwegian logged his ninth podium and eighth victory at the Canadian speed venue.
The day felt so similar to Saturday’s downhill race in more ways than one. Pleasant temperatures, a nearly cloudless sky, and Italian Peter Fill laying down a fast time within the top of the order contributed to a sense that the magic of Bill Murray’s “Groundhog Day” could be in the air. Then American Travis Ganong, whose previous best super G result was sixth in Kitzbuehel in 2014, cracked in right behind Fill at 0.06 seconds slower. When Svindal made a costly error once again but still managed to come down in the lead, almost a half-second ahead of Fill, the potential podium looked nearly identical to Saturday’s with the addition of Austrian Max Franz tying Ganong for the final spot.
“Already at the third gate, you really carry a lot of speed onto that flatter section. Then the next key section is the Coaches’ Corner which I actually messed up, kind of like the downhill. Deja vu, I guess,” said Svindal of his run. “Then I went a little away from my plan in those next couple gates because you know you have to make up some time. So I took a little more risk than I thought I would going into the pitch. But then I was sticking to the plan (exiting) the pitch because I had a plan there to really carry hopefully more speed than anyone else. I think that’s where I won the race.”
But Matthias Mayer, back on the tour though still sore from early-season injuries that kept him out of Soelden and forced him to skip the final downhill training run here, was aiming to scramble the podium beneath Svindal. For the third year in a row, Mayer pulled out the second-fastest super G time at Lake Louise, just one-tenth ahead of Fill, pushing through pain to relegate his teammate and Ganong to fourth.
“I think the whole (Austrian) team today had better success than yesterday. So all-in-all it was a better day. Yesterday it was very bad for us especially with the injury to Markus Duerager. It hurts the whole team,” said Mayer of his squad which was shut out of the top five in the downhill. “Today I have a little bit of pain after the race, but I have two days off now and I’ll be ready for next weekend in Beaver Creek.”
Fill, meanwhile, was once again relieved that his early lead held up for a podium result despite some trouble in the middle of the course.
“I pushed hard and tried to find a good line, all risk, and it was enough,” said Fill. “For me it’s very important to start fast. The middle part was not so good. It was really difficult to find the right line. With the (early) number it’s not so easy because you have no information from (your teammates). So the last part was very important for me going fast in the race.”
Ganong, on the other hand, appreciates the pressure-free approach that an early bib affords an athlete.
“I love running early in super G, that’s like my favorite thing because then you don’t get psyched by watching the other guys and you just stick to your plan and have fun. It was good skiing today and solid, no big mistakes. I’m really happy,” said Ganong. “I think I lost like two-tenths in the first eight seconds, so that cost me the podium. I have bad shoulders and my thumb’s hurt so I can’t really push that hard. That’s kind of frustrating, but the skiing after that was good.”
The Truckee, Calif., native, who had surgery on his thumb last week, leaves Lake Louise with a podium and a career-best super G result, indicating that he could be a serious threat in two disciplines on the tour this winter.
“I’ve always been really fast in training in super G, I just haven’t had a breakthrough like this yet in my super G career. So it’s really awesome to start chipping away at super G as well. In training I do it all the time with Svindal and these guys, we train with them and are right in there with them. It’s good to get one on race day,” he concluded.
Last season’s winner Kjetil Jansrud, who ran immediately after Svindal, looked primed to contest for second place until the final splits on course. Admitting that his gliding is not as good as last year, he will look to make adjustments and move on to Beaver Creek, where he will hopefully improve upon his seventh-place finish on the day. The youngest Attacking Viking on the speed squad, Aleksander Aamodt Kilde, cracked the top 10 on the World Cup for just the second time in his career, placing all three Norwegian starters inside the top 10.
Steven Nyman, finishing 21st, and Andrew Weibrecht in 26th were the only other scoring athletes from the U.S. Ski Team. Weibrecht was lucky to emerge unscathed from the race after he launched off the final air on course and his tips drifted toward the sky.
“I thought I was not going to pull that together, actually, and I just did. So I’m happy about that. That’s my one takeaway from the day,” admitted Weibrecht.
The World Cup men now move on to Beaver Creek, Colo., to race downhill, super G, and giant slalom starting Dec. 4.
See more photos from today’s race here.
By Hank McKee
1 Svindal, Head/Head/Head
2 Mayer, Head/Head/Head
3 Fill, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
4 Franz, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
4 Ganong, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
6 Paris, Nordica/Nordica/Marker
7 Jansrud, Head/Head/Head
8 Kriechmayr, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
9 Theaux, Head/Head/Head
10 Kilde, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
- Men’s World Cup super G, Lake Louise, Canada, Nov. 29, 2015. … It is the third race of the men’s 45 race 2015-16 World Cup schedule … the first of eight scheduled super Gs. … It is the 101st World Cup race hosted by Lake Louise and the 38th super G. … It is the second and final men’s race at the site this season but the second of five World Cup races with the women competing Dec. 4-6. … Kjetil Jansrud won the SG last season. … Aksel Lund Svindal has won the Lake Louise super G a record six times. … Bode Miller is the only U.S. male to have won the race, doing so in 2004.
- It is the 27th career World Cup win for Aksel Lund Svindal. … His 13th in super G and his sixth in super G at Lake Louise, the site record. … It is his second win of the season and the weekend. … He also swept both races at Lake Louise in 2012.
- It is the 12th career World Cup podium placing for Matthias Mayer. … It is the third time he has finished second to a Norwegian at Lake Louise in super G.
- It is the 13th career World Cup podium for Peter Fill, and his second of the weekend. … It is his fourth Lake Louise podium but his first in super G.
- It is the fifth top-four placing of Travis Ganong’s World Cup career, and second of the weekend having placed third in the downhill a day ago. … It is the 93rd time Erik Guay has placed in the top 13 of a World Cup race … his 14th time at Lake Louise. … It is the seventh best World Cup super G result of Steven Nyman’s career. … It is the sixth best of seven scoring finishes at Lake Louise for Andrew Weibrecht. … Manuel Osborne-Paradis beat yesterday’s downhill finish by two placings.
- Svindal controls the World Cup overall standings 207-140 over Fill, with Mayer jumping to third with 112pts. Ganong is fourth with 110pts and Ted Ligety (did not race) is fifth with 100pts.
- Austria leads the men’s Nations Cup 524-385 over Italy. … Norway is third with 363. … The U.S. is fifth at 261 and Canada eighth with 60pts.
|1||19||421328||SVINDAL Aksel Lund||1982||NOR||1:29.30||0.00|
|10||28||422139||KILDE Aleksander Aamodt||1992||NOR||1:30.12||+0.82||9.92|
|17||27||192504||MERMILLOD BLONDIN Thomas||1984||FRA||1:30.83||+1.53||18.50|
|43||45||380292||ZRNCIC DIM Natko||1986||CRO||1:32.07||+2.77||33.50|
|52||61||110324||VON APPEN Henrik||1994||CHI||1:32.84||+3.54||42.81|
|Did not finish 1st run|