prestigious trophy in ski racing, Austrian coaches put him
in. He finished well off the pace in 34th. He did not race the
The third place from Benni Raich was a forecast.
“Today I finally have a result that I am happy with,” Raich
had said, “and this third place just makes me look forward
to the next races.”
Super G 2
Perhaps Raich was the only one looking forward to skiing
through that slop again, or maybe it was the proximity of
his birthday — he would turn 34 on Feb. 28 — but whatever the incentive, he started fast and got faster in the
second super G, taking the lead at the first interval timer
and never relinquishing it.
“This is huge,” he said with a big grin. “I am overjoyed.”
Though Raich had been second five times in the discipline
over the length of his career — and won a bronze medal
in the 2005 World Championships — he had never won a
World Cup super G before.
“I was really close all these years,” said Raich. “I was often
really good in the super G, so I can’t really say why it suddenly all came together for me today. It’s maybe that yesterday I saw I was in touch with the best guys out there and
that’s important to know; it gave me a lot of self-confidence
and now I have a podium and a victory in a discipline where
I was not that good this year.”
Runner-up Adrien Theaux had never won a super G either, but he is apparently a fast learner. He placed 15th in
the first race and then skied flawlessly in the second. Being on a podium between Raich and Cuche was, he said,
Cuche said he thought he had skied the upper portions
of the course better than in his winning run of the previous day. “But then I made a mistake,” he said. “I went too
straight and had to push hard into the soft snow to get back
to the line; I killed my speed to the finish line.”
Hudec just missed extending the Canadian podium streak
in fifth behind Klaus Kroell.
“I really felt like I had a chance,” Hudec said. “After losing
time on the bottom yesterday I really wanted to make sure I
was fighting the whole way down. I did that, but I ended up
making a few mistakes.”
At bib 28 the light went flat, making it even more treacherous for skiers trying to find the line and avoid the softest
snow. Rearick said both Ted Ligety and Ryan Cochran-Siegle had done “a great job dealing with that,” winding up
22nd and 26th, respectively, from starts 32 and 40. Andrew
Weibrecht was the lead American again in 20th.
With two more super G races set the following weekend at
Kvitfjell and one more at the Schladming World Cup Finals,
there was no Cup title more undetermined than super G.
Aksel Lund Svindal finished ninth both days. Since he won
the opener at Lake Louise in November and was second to
Viletta a week later at Beaver Creek, he still led the standings. Cuche was seven points behind him and Hudec sat
third, 71 behind Cuche and 78 from the title. Val Gardena
winner Beat Feuz had a miserable outing at Crans Montana and was fourth, two points behind Hudec.
used his head
in the Crans-Montana GS.
Ted Ligety is
GS crown slip
In contrast to super G, where no one has been mathemati-
cally eliminated, the GS title hunt was looking at its seventh
event of the season. The standings may have looked differ-
ent, but the snow did not. Not many coaches will be dem-
onstrating classic technique with video from this GS. There
was some flailing going on and some troubled form.
By luck of the draw, the top dog of the season, the aston-
ishing Marcel Hirscher, drew the first bib. Glad to be out of
his super G gear and into something familiar, he took to
the long and rolling Piste Nationale with insistence, putting
down a run that no mortal was going to beat.
These heroes of winter, however, are not normal humans.
Blardone had not registered two wins in a season in six
the cut to ski