GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany – It was a day full of surprises in Garmisch on Saturday as two of the three podium spots in the downhill were newcomers to the top of the results sheet. Norway’s Aleksander Aamodt Kilde stunned the crowd as he took his first World Cup win from bib 30 with a total time of 1:55.28 seconds. Slovenian Bostjan Kline finished in the runner-up spot, 0.22 seconds back for his first World Cup podium appearance, holding the lead from bib No. 3 until Kilde took to the course. Rounding out the podium in third place was Switzerland’s Beat Feuz, 0.24 seconds back.
The morning’s forecast called for warming temperatures throughout the day which never came, providing instead for a firm, fast track for all racers after an overnight freeze created nearly perfect racing conditions. Kline set the pace early and proceeded to squeak past challenger upon challenger. At one point, first through fourth place was only separated by 0.07 seconds. Kicking out of the gate as the last racer in the first 30, Kilde kept Kline well in touch on the upper sections, and eventually took the lead heading towards the finish. Crossing the line 0.22 seconds up, the young Norwegian almost didn’t believe his eyes as he looked at a green light flashing on the scoreboard.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling. I was hoping for a top 10 today with number 30,” Kilde explained. “While I was skiing, I was really hoping for a good time because I felt like it was fast and conditions were holding up really good. Crossing the finish line with green numbers, that’s unbelievable.”
The only person in the finish that may have been more excited than Kilde was his teammate, Kjetil Jansrud. Jansrud jumped for joy – knocking his now trademark furry trapper hat off in the process – as Kilde took the lead and his first World Cup win.
“That’s how it’s been since the beginning,” Kilde said of the support he gets from his teammates. “Ever since I first started on the team, those guys have been there to help me and support me. It’s really amazing.”
With his win, Kilde becomes the fourth Norwegian man to win on the World Cup this season. With superstar Aksel Lund Svindal sidelined for he season with a torn ACL, the Attacking Vikings will look to the likes of Kilde, Jansrud, and Henrik Kristoffersen to carry the men’s team for the remainder of the season.
For Kline, it was starting to look like Slovenia might get its first men’s downhill victory since Andrej Jerman won in Bormio in 2009. Alas, it was not to be as the young Slovene had to settle for second. Kline was nevertheless very happy with his performance and was more than content with his second-place finish.
“I knew that the race was not over as the best guys were coming down, but it was amazing standing there in the leader box,” Kline said. “I’m very happy, very satisfied. I felt good. When I saw the time and saw that I was ahead of Weibrecht I knew it was a good run, but I didn’t expect a podium or anything even close.”
Feuz claimed his second podium in as many races following his runner-up performance last week in Kitzbuehel. Feuz has had his fair share of injury struggles in recent seasons and was content to once again find himself among the top racers.
“In the upper part, I didn’t feel very well, so it’s not a surprise to me that I lost time on to the first split,” he said. “I didn’t have much training this season, so it’s hard to find the rhythm right away when I drop in the course. But in the lower part, I felt that my skiing was fast and that I could keep the line. Your legs are starting to get tired at the bottom, and that’s where I was fast, maybe I’m fresher than the others, I don’t know. In the end, it was good for a podium and I’m very happy about it.”
Travis Ganong led a solid showing by the Americans as every U.S. Ski Team finisher landed inside the top 30. Ganong was sixth, Steve Nyman 10th, Andrew Weibrecht 17th, Jared Goldberg 20th, and Wiley Maple 23rd. The Californian admitted to dealing with a tweaked knee since Kitzbuehel and said he didn’t know what to expect heading into today’s race.
“It’s awesome. I wasn’t really sure if I was going to be able to ski this week at all with my knee – I had a bone bruise after Kitzbuehel,” explained Ganong. “I had an MRI and took a bunch of days off and I didn’t really know what was going to be possible. I figured out a way to kind of numb it up and make it feel good enough to push on. … I’m just really happy I pushed through and was tough and raced today because it’s an awesome result.”
There were a number of attack-from-the-back performances on the day as Italy’s Matteo Marsaglia charged from bib 52 to finish in sixth, Kline’s teaammate Andrej Sporn landed in eighth after starting 31, and Austrian Patrick Schweiger went from bib 33 to finish 14th.
Giant slalom is scheduled for Sunday, although precipitation and warmer temperatures are in the forecast. Fingers are crossed as there has not been a men’s World Cup GS since Alta Badia on Dec. 20. The first run is set to begin at 10:30am CET.
By Hank McKee
1. Kilde, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
2. Kline, Stoeckli/Head/Tyrolia
3. Feuz, Head/Head/Head
4. Innerhofer, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
5. Theaux, Head/Head/Head
6. Marsaglia, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
6. Ganong, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
8. Sporn, Stoeckli/Lange/Atomic
8. Sander, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
10. Nyman, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
- Men’s World Cup downhill, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, Jan. 30, 2016 … the Kandahar race, first organized in Garmisch-Partenkirchen in 1954. … The first World Cup competition on the course currently used (Kandahar 2) took place in 2010. … It is the 25th race of 45 on the men’s World Cup schedule and the seventh of 11 scheduled downhills. … It is the 103rd World Cup race conducted at Garmisch … the 42nd downhill. … Garmisch has also hosted two World Ski Championships and the 1936 Olympics. … Hannes Reichelt is the defending champion.
- It is the first World Cup win for Aleksander Aamodt Kilde … his second career podium having placed third in SG at Val Gardena in December. … An extremely close race. The winning margin is 0.22 of a second. … Top 18 finishers are within the same second. … Entire scoring field within two seconds. … It is the 17th Norwegian win of the season.
- It is the first career World Cup podium for Bostjan Kline. … His next best finish is 13th in downhill at Santa Catarina Dec. 28, 2014. … It is the best Slovene DH result since Rok Perko was second at Val Gardena on Dec. 15, 2012.
- It is the 19th career World Cup podium for Beat Feuz and his second consecutive DH podium having placed second at Kitzbuehel.
- Sixth matches the seventh best career finish for Travis Ganong. … It is his third best finish of the season. … It is the 15th career World Cup top 10 for Steven Nyman … his second of the season. … It is the 10th best career result for Benjamin Thomsen … his second best of the season. … Andrew Weibrecht matches his fifth best finish of the season. … It is his first career score at Garmisch. … It is the eighth top 20 World Cup placing for Jared Goldberg and his fourth score of the season. … It is the fifth best career World Cup result at Garmisch for Manuel Osborne-Paradis. … It is the fifth career World Cup scoring finish for Wiley Maple and his second of the season.
- Marcel Hirscher (did not race) leads the World Cup overall standings 969-916 over Aksel Lund Svindal (did not race – injured). … Henrik Kristoffersen (did not race) is third overall with 871pts.
- Svindal leads the downhill standings 436-315 over Peter Fill (11th in race). … Adrien Theaux (fifth in race) is third with 269pts. … Travis Ganong moves into the top 10 with 169pts.
- Austria leads the men’s Nations Cup 3382-3096 over Norway. … France is third at 2812pts. … The U.S. is fifth with 1455pts and Canada ninth at 435pts.
|Rank||Bib||FIS Code||Name||Year||Nation||Total Time||Diff.||FIS Points|
|1||30||422139||KILDE Aleksander Aamodt||1992||NOR||1:55.28||0.00|
|35||58||192504||MERMILLOD BLONDIN Thomas||1984||FRA||1:57.58||+2.30||24.94|
|38||46||380292||ZRNCIC DIM Natko||1986||CRO||1:57.74||+2.46||26.67|
|45||57||110324||VON APPEN Henrik||1994||CHI||1:58.67||+3.39||36.76|
|Did not finish 1st run|
|37||194542||GIRAUD MOINE Valentin||1992||FRA|