Ted Ligety hoists the GS crystal globe.
Swiss Didier Cuche holds his third career World Cup downhill globe.
race. “They were ideal conditions from top to bottom,” said U.S. speed coach
Chris Brigham. “It was a super-tight race, as it normally is on the men’s tour.
Steven [Nyman] today had some fast splits, makes a little mistake and he’s 1.7
[seconds] out in 30th place. That’s the kind of day it was.” Nyman collected
the lone U.S. points.
The Canadians fared better, but not as well as anticipated after some excellent training results. Erik Guay finished ninth, Jan Hudec 13th and Manny
Kvitfjell Super G, March 7
The super G put the yellow suits of Canada in better focus. With little left
to lose and everything to gain, Guay put the pedal to the metal, took every
risk he could find and smoked to his second career-World Cup win and his
first victory in super G.
“At the Olympics I was three hundredths off the podium,” Guay said, “and
here I won by two-hundredths. … There are a lot of things that can make
that much difference. I’m definitely not going to forget the Olympics any time
soon. [He finished fifth twice.] It was kind of heartbreaking. I took a lot of
risks today. I can’t honestly say I thought I was winning when I got to the finish. Fast runs sometimes don’t feel that good when you’re taking risks.”
The race was even closer than the downhill before it. The top 13 skiers finished within a second of each other.
World Cup Finals, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany
Although the bulk of the women’s tour titles had been decided before the
World Cup Finals in Garmisch-Partenkirchen even began, the men’s tour
faced more questions than a chemistry quiz. True, Swiss Didier Cuche had
wrapped up his third World Cup downhill title, and super G appeared to be
a lock for Michael Walchhofer, but the GS title lead of Ted “Shred” Ligety
was barely over 40 points, and the slalom was just as close. The overall title
lead was tenuous at best. Each race pulsed with possible history-changing
World Cup Finals Downhill, March 10
When 23-year-old Carlo Janka claimed the Garmisch downhill, he moved
past Benjamin Raich, a six-time top-three finisher, for the overall crown.
Perhaps more importantly, he made sure the Austrian men would not win a
downhill all season, something that certainly pleased all of his native Switzerland if not him.
The race was exceptionally close even by World Cup standards. The winning margin, over Austrian Mario Scheiber, was a scant two-hundredths of a
second and the top eight were within two tenths of a second. That is amazing
over the two-mile long Kandahar 2 course scheduled to test the best in next
season’s World Championships. That Janka was the 20th of 24 starters only
added to the dramatics, but he figured he had already accomplished his seasonal goals with an Olympic gold medal. He said he thought the snow conditions — “not too soft, not too icy, compact, as good as it gets” — suited him to
a T and he just turned his skis loose.
The U.S. had no skiers in the race. Ted Ligety was qualified and ran in training, but said, “I didn’t feel like I was going to be strong enough in downhill
to make it worthwhile.” Bode Miller skipped Finals, and injuries to Marco
Sullivan and Andrew Weibrecht took the rest of the U.S. potential out of the
Canada, though, got third place from a red hot Erik Guay, fresh off a super
G win at Kvitfjell, and seventh — within a small fraction of a second from the
win — from Manuel Osborne-Paradis.