The men's downhill podium at World Cup Finals. GEPA/Wolfgang Grebien

The men’s downhill podium at World Cup Finals. GEPA/Wolfgang Grebien

For such a simple course, the World Cup Finals downhill at Lenzerheide sure took its toll on the men’s field. A quarter of the most elite skiers failed to even finish. The Silvano Beltrametti track does not have high speed, nor does it have any gliding sections or jumps. That pretty much leaves turns which was music to the ears of the lord of GS, American Ted Ligety.

Coupled with an early start number (4) on a course that would suffer the ravages of a bright March sun, Ligety linked stunningly beautiful turns the length of the course to take the early lead. He was matched by Christof Innerhofer and bested, by a scant 0.11, only by Olympic champion Matthias Mayer, but left the majority of the circuit’s top downhillers in disbelief. Six of 26 starters failed to finish, most of them with innocuous errors that caused them to get late in the turns and shut down their runs.  A few – notably Georg Streitberger – got launched as skis loaded up when hooked on ruts, releasing their pilots from the grips of gravity.

Aksel Lund Svindal, already the season’s downhill champion before the race started, was among the few who performed well from late in the start order, managing fifth from bib 20 and regaining the lead of the overall standings in the process. He was happy to pick up his globe.

Svindal kisses the downhill globe. GEPA/Christian Walgram

Svindal kisses his downhill globe. GEPA/Christian Walgram

“For a downhill skier this globe is one of the biggest goals,” Svindal said. “The titles always feel really, really good.” His battle with technical skier Marcel Hirscher for the overall title “is almost too exciting. If I had to put money on one I have no idea who it would be.”

Ligety joined the ranks of skiers with podiums in all five disciplines, a feat that overshadowed his move into third place in the overall standings.

“To be on the podium in every single event now in my career is a pretty cool accomplishment,” said Ligety. Lenzerheide, he added, is one of the downhill courses he will always enter.

“It’ not a typical downhill hill, so it suits a guy that has more GSy skills like me,” noted Ligety. “I’m only a downhiller on specific hills.”

Travis Ganong finished sixth, capping a season which had closed out spectacularly with five straight downhill races in the top seven.

“I missed the timing on one turn down toward the bottom,” he lamented. “I feel I belong now. I’m skiing fast enough to win a race. Today at the bottom I lost so much time. This was really the first time all season we had the kind of snow we like.” Skiers were pushing hard, he said, leading to the high DNF rate among the season’s best skiers.

Bode Miller, who was the lone athlete who failed to finish Tuesday’s training run, squeezed inside the top 10 in eighth, while Manny Osborne-Paradis posted Canada’s top result in 13th.



Men’s World Cup downhill, Lenzerheide, Switzerland, March 12, 2014

Equipment – skis/boots/bindings

1 Mayer, Head/Head/Head

2 Innerhofer, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol

2 Ligety, Head/Head/Head

4 Fill, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic

5 Svindal, Head/Head/Head

6 Ganong, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic

7 Viletta, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon

8 Miller, Head/Head/Head

9 Janka, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic

10 Theaux, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon

Men’s World Cup downhill, Lenzerheide, Switzerland, March 12, 2014. … It is the opening race of World Cup Finals where the fields are limited and points awarded to the top 15. … It is the 32nd race of the men’s schedule the last of nine scheduled downhills. … It is the 35th World Cup race hosted at Lenzerheide, the 12th downhill.

It is the first World Cup win for Matthias Mayer, but his second win of the season after capturing the Olympic gold medal in downhill. His top six results have all come this season.

It is the 12th World Cup podium result for Christof Innerhofer. … His third of the season including an Olympic bronze medal in combined.

It is the 35th World Cup podium for Ted Ligety and his first in downhill. … He and Bode Miller are the only U.S. men to have podiums in all disciplines. … It is his ninth podium of the season including a gold medal Olympic result in GS.

It is the fourth top six World Cup result for Travis Ganong, all of them this season and all of them since Jan. 26 (Kitzbuehel). … It is the 11th time Bode Miller has finished eighth or better this season, including three Olympic finishes. … Manuel Osborne-Paradis has his fifth best result of the season… the 11th best of the season for Erik Guay.

Aksel Lund Svindal (fifth in race) leads the World Cup overall standing 1091-10050 over Marcel Hirscher (did not race). … Ted Ligety is third with 824pts. … Bode Miller is eighth overall with 557pts. … Erik Guay is top Canadian in 13th with 408pts.

Svindal wins the downhill title 570-360 over Hannes Reichelt (did not race due to injury). … Guay is third with 357pts. … Miller is eighth with 264pts.

Austria leads the men’s Nations Cup 4904-3252 over France. … Italy is third with 2870. The U.S. is fifth with 2330 and Canada tenth with 1057pts.



Rank Bib FIS Code Name Year Nation Total Time Diff. FIS Points
 1  9  53902 MAYER Matthias 1990 AUT  1:29.99  0.00
 2  8  293006 INNERHOFER Christof 1984 ITA  1:30.10  +0.11  1.67
 2  4  534562 LIGETY Ted 1984 USA  1:30.10  +0.11  1.67
 4  11  292455 FILL Peter 1982 ITA  1:30.12  +0.13  1.98
 5  20  421328 SVINDAL Aksel Lund 1982 NOR  1:30.19  +0.20  3.04
 6  10  530874 GANONG Travis 1988 USA  1:30.51  +0.52  7.92
 7  24  511352 VILETTA Sandro 1986 SUI  1:30.55  +0.56  8.53
 8  17  532431 MILLER Bode 1977 USA  1:30.61  +0.62  9.44
 9  6  511313 JANKA Carlo 1986 SUI  1:30.79  +0.80  12.18
 10  18  192746 THEAUX Adrien 1984 FRA  1:30.98  +0.99  15.07
 11  21  511139 KUENG Patrick 1984 SUI  1:30.99  +1.00  15.22
 12  16  421483 JANSRUD Kjetil 1985 NOR  1:31.26  +1.27  19.33
 13  3  102899 OSBORNE-PARADIS Manuel 1984 CAN  1:31.36  +1.37  20.86
 14  5  422310 SEJERSTED Adrian Smiseth 1994 NOR  1:31.46  +1.47  22.38
 15  14  53817 FRANZ Max 1989 AUT  1:31.62  +1.63  24.81
 16  26  50753 KROELL Klaus 1980 AUT  1:31.66  +1.67  25.42
 17  13  291459 PARIS Dominik 1989 ITA  1:31.79  +1.80  27.40
 18  19  191740 CLAREY Johan 1981 FRA  1:32.73  +2.74  41.71
 19  22  102263 GUAY Erik 1981 CAN  1:32.76  +2.77  42.17
Disqualified 1st run
 2  54005 STRIEDINGER Otmar 1991 AUT
Did not finish 1st run
 25  192932 FAYED Guillermo 1985 FRA
 23  292514 HEEL Werner 1982 ITA
 15  50858 STREITBERGER Georg 1981 AUT
 12  510727 DEFAGO Didier 1977 SUI
 7  51215 BAUMANN Romed 1986 AUT
 1  293141 VARETTONI Silvano 1984 ITA


Article Tags: Alpine, Top Story

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Hank McKee
Senior Editor
- In memoriam: The veteran of the staff, McKee started with Ski Racing in 1980. Over the seasons, he covered virtually every aspect of the sport, from the pro tours to junior racing, freestyle and World Cup alpine competition. He wrote the first national stories for many U.S. team stars, and was still around to report on their retirements. “Longevity has its rewards,” he said, “but it’s a slow process.”
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