Feed a cold, starve the flu…oh never mind,
I’ll just race, says Aksel Lund Svindal.
It was warm in Adelboden, Switzerland, well above freezing, and
had been for days. Though the race crews did a fantastic job of
preparing the steep Chuenisbaergli with water and chemicals, it
could not withstand the pounding of the best GS racers. Late start-
ers, in either run, had little realistic chance to improve their rank-
Ligety is the best GS skier of the season and he drew a decent
start: seventh. He turned that into a first-run lead of 0.36 over
home-standing Carlo Janka, 2010’s Skier of the Year, and 0.47
over three-time Adelboden GS winner Benjamin Raich. It was con-
firmation of his level of expertise.
The second run, however, was another matter. Just two guys
who had started outside of the top 30 made the 30-man flip for a
second run. One of them was Bode Miller, who started 31st and
climbed to 26th, and the other was Austrian Stefan Goergl, who
started 36th and moved to 29th. The outlook for the 30th starter of
the second run, Ligety, wasn’t that good, but then — as leader — it
wasn’t exactly bad, either.
As the second run unfolded, the 10th skier on course, Frenchman
Cyprien Richard, drew first blood. The course was set about three
seconds faster than the first and Richard was 4. 3 seconds faster
than his first run. He would spend the rest of the afternoon as the
focus of the television cameras.
Two racers later, Ivica Kostelic, coming off a pair of victories (at
Ivica Kostelic took the World Cup
overall lead with his slalom victory.
Munich in parallel and at Zagreb in slalom) also tore over the pitch
to the finish with a fast run to get inside of three tenths of a second
of Richard. A dozen more started and churned through the spring
conditions before Aksel Lund Svindal, nursing a nasty bout of the
flu, caught and tied Richard’s time.
That left five skiers. None of them could get it done in those con-
ditions. Austrian Philipp Schoerghofer finished in seventh. French-
man Thomas Fanara gave a great effort to land third giving the
French their second straight two-podium men’s GS. Raich tucked
in two-hundredths behind Fanara and Janka, the darling of a crowd
of 30,000 face-painted Swiss, finished in 13th.
That left Ligety and a course that was by this time draped in shadow.