Austrian men sweep Val Gardena super G podium; Miller fourth{mosimage}Three of Austria’s best swept the podium at the Val Gardena super G today, in a race marked by big crashes. Michael Walchhofer, the tall skier from Altenmarkt who races every discipline, won the race by a tenth of a second over Hermann Maier.

“It was not easy to imagine that I could do so well today,” said Walchhofer, who strained the MCL ligament in his left knee during the first training run here. “It’s stressed but it’s not broken.”

Walchhofer is one of the favorites to win tomorrow’s downhill on the classic Saslong track. “It will be difficult to beat Antoine Deneriaz and Bode Miller,” said Walchhofer.

Bode Miller, who last week said he would guarantee that Walchhofer would be threat for the overall at the end of this season, finished fourth after making a mistake going onto Turbo Road, the final stretch that carries skiers into the Val Gardena finish area — which is plunged in perpetual shade by the towering peaks nearby.

‘It’s hard when you run the downhill and then the super G, because there’s so many things going on in your head about speed and line, and I just misjudged a little bit,” said Miller. “Once you’re in too tight, there’s nothing to do but try to make the turn anyway. I made the turn but scrubbed a lot of speed. And that speed carries you all the way down the last pitch into the finish. So you lose a little bit in the mistake, and then you keep losing all the way into the finish. It was at least a half second.”

A rough spot four or five gates up from the finish resulted in several crashes. A divot left in the course from the previous day’s downhill training run came right at the apex of a turn, when the tired athletes were using the last of their energy to crank out a turn. Both Daron Rahlves and Erik Schlopy got rocked by the hole, but while Rahlves recovered himself dramatically, Schlopy went crashing hard into the nets. It took him awhile, but he got back on his feet and waved to the crowd after at the announcer’s encouragement.

Another skier who hit the whole and crashed into the fencing was AJ Bear of Australia, running 53rd. American Bryon Friedman, returning to the tour after five days in a Grenoble hospital, was already on course, and so was waved off by course workers. He returned to the top of the hill via helicopter, started over and finished 27th. It proved once again that he is one of the U.S. Ski Team’s hardiest athletes (he scored points at Kitzbuehel last year despite having suffered a concussion on the course earlier in the week).

Among those in the finish area were Olympic legend Franz Klammer, FIS president Gian-Franco Kasper and Italian speed skiing star Kristian Ghedina, whose equipment was stolen from his car earlier this week. “I was at an auto-show in Bologna, and I parked my car for five hours,” said Ghedina. “When I came back my boots were gone. My boots and the bags with my electronics: computer, GPS, videocamera, two handy-phones and everything…The boots are the most important article for us. Much more than the ski.”

World Cup

Men’s Super G
Val Gardena, Italy
Dec. 17, 2004

1. Michael Walchhofer, AUT 1:31.17
2. Hermann Maier, AUT 1:31.29
3. Benjamin Raich, AUT 1:31.47
4. Bode Miller, USA 1:31.86
5. Aksel Lund Svindal, NOR 1:31.98
6. Hans Knauss, AUT 1:32.03
7. Didier Cuche, SUI 1:32.27
7. Marco Buechel, LIE 1:32.27
9. Bruno Kernen, SUI 1:32.31
10. Stephan Goergl, AUT 1:32.35
11. Fritz Strobl, AUT 1:32.46
12. Mario Scheiber, AUT 1:327
13. Daron Rahlves, USA 1:32.54
13. Christoph Gruber, AUT 1:32.54
15. Antoine Deneriaz, FRA 1:32.55
16. Kjetil Andre Aamodt, NOR 1:32.56
17. Francois Bourque, CAN 1:32.64
18. Didier Defago, SUI 1:32.76
19. Bjarne Solbakken, NOR 1:32.84
20. Patrick Staudacher, ITA 1:32.91
21. Tobias Gruenenfelder, SUI 1:32.94
22. Johan Grugger, AUT 1:32.99
23. Alessandro Fattori, ITA 1:33.00
24. Lasse Kjus, NOR 1:33.02
25. Sebastien Fournier-Bidoz, FRA 1:33.04
26. Juerg Gruenenfelder, SUI 1:33.05
27. Bryon Friedman, USA 1:33.06
28. Patrik Jaerbyn, SWE 1:33.08
29. Finlay Mickel, GBR 1:33.22
30. Scott Macartney, USA 1:33.24
other North Americans:
39. Dane Spencer, USA 1:33.95
49. Justin Johnson, USA 1:34.70
51. Jeff Hume, CAN 1:35.05
DNF: Erik Guay, CAN; Erik Schlopy, USA.
DSQ: Wade Bishop, USA.


By Hank McKee

Men’s SG, Val Gardena, Italy. Dec. 17, 2004
Skier, skis/boots/bindings
1 Walchhofer, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
2 Maier, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
3 Raich, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
4 Miller, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
5 Svindal, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
6 Knauss, Fischer/Lange/Fischer
7 Cuche, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
7 Buechel, Head/Lange/Tyrolia
9 Kernen, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
10 Goergl, Fischer/Lange/Fischer

Men’s SG Val Gardena, 12/17/2004 – It is the 11th of 35 races on the men’s World Cup schedule (plus 2 combined). … It is the third of seven scheduled men’s super G’s. … Top six are within the same second with first and second separated by .12. …

It is the third career World Cup win for Michael Walchhofer. … His first in SG. … He also won Kitzbuhuel combined 1/26/03 and Lake Louise DH 11/29/03. … It his first win of the season and his fifth podium of the season having been third four times (Lake Louise dh & sg; Beaver Creek dh, Val d’Isere dh). …

It is the 83rd career World Cup podium for Hermann Maier. … his fourth of the season. … It is his 31st career SG podium. … his second of the season. … It is the 38th career podium for Benjamin Raich. … his first in SG. … He has three podiums this season each in different disciplines. … Austrians last swept a SG 3/11/04 at Sestriere.

It is the 40th career top four placing for Bode Miller. … His ninth of the season in nine completed races. … His third top four of the season in three SG’s held. …It is the 70th top 15 result for Daron Rahlves. … In seven races this season, Rahlves has six top 15 results. … It is a career best result for Francois Bourque. … It is the 13th scoring result for Bryon Friedman. … His third of the season. … Scott Macartney got his first World Cup point. … He is the 19th U.S. skier to score this season. …

It is just the third super G at Val Gardena, the first two held exactly 20 years apart (P Zurbriggen 12/19/83…L Kjus 12/19/03. … It is the 17th ValGardena win for Austria. …

Top racers in standings all finish well. … Miller’s lead in overall standings is 780-419 for Hermann Maier. … Rahlves is fifth at 256 with Austrians in the two-four positions (Maier 419-Walchhofer 384-Raich 376). … Miller maintains the SG standings lead 230-192 over Maier with Walchhofer third, Stephan Goergl fourth and Raich fifth. … The Austrian Nations Cup lead is now 3989-2166 for the U.S. … Austrian men’s lead is 2592-1230 over U.S.

Article Tags: Alpine



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