GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany (AP) Hannes Reichelt led the second Austrian sweep in as many weekends by winning a shortened World Cup downhill on the Kandahar slope on Saturday.
Two weeks after an Austrian failed to place in the top 10 of the men’s downhill at the world championships for the first time, Austrian skiers answered by claiming a 1-2-3 on home snow at the Saalbach-Hinterglemm World Cup last weekend.
Now, they’ve done it again.
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Reichelt, the super-G world champion, was quickest in both training sessions, and showed it in the race, too. He edged Romed Baumann by one hundredth of a second, and Matthias Mayer by 0.24 seconds for his 10th career World Cup victory.
”It’s wonderful, also to tick off the Kandahar,” said Reichelt, who claimed silver in the super-G at the 2011 worlds in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. ”I’d have liked if it had been the longer course because the Kandahar offers everything – difficult turns and long straights.”
The challenging course was shortened to the super-G starting point after delays due to persistent fog.
Mayer was bidding for three straight victories after winning the downhill and super-G at Saalbach-Hinterglemm, but the Olympic downhill champion had to skip Friday’s training session due to a cold.
”I had `man flu’ – it lasted three days. So I was actually quite happy that the course was shortened,” Mayer said.
Italy’s Silvano Varettoni and Dominik Paris were fourth and fifth, respectively.
Downhill leader Kjetil Jansrud missed the opportunity to pressure overall leader Marcel Hirscher after finishing a disappointing three-quarters of a second off the pace in joint 19th.
”For us, it’s better to race than call it off, and that’s why we have to accept the shorter course,” said Jansrud, who shrugged his shoulders and shook his head with disappointment.
”I had a good start but then made a couple of minor mistakes, which isn’t ideal. Of course I’m annoyed because we’re talking about the overall World Cup,” the Norwegian said.
Technical specialist Hirscher, who is attempting to become the first man to win four consecutive overall titles, does not race downhill, and the Austrian holds a commanding 104-point lead over Jansrud ahead of Sunday’s giant slalom.
”The three of us stole a few points from Kjetil with our triple success,” said Baumann, referring to the Austrian dominance. ”Now we have to work out with Marcel what our reward is, and see what springs out of it for us.”
With two downhills remaining, Reichelt narrowed the gap on Jansrud in the discipline standings to 84 points, while Paris is 112 behind.
Downhill world champion Patrick Kueng of Switzerland finished 12th.
It seemed nobody but the cold-afflicted Mayer was happy there was less distance to ski.
”Unfortunately, the cool part of the course was cut out through the shortening – that’s where you have to risk everything,” said Austria’s Max Franz, who was 10th. ”It’s a pity because the course is really in a great condition.”