Hannes Reichelt leads World Cup downhill sweep for Austria
GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany — Hannes Reichelt led an Austrian sweep of a shortened downhill race on the Kandahar slope for his 10th career World Cup victory on Saturday.
Reichelt, the super-G world champion, had been quickest in both training sessions and he completed the course in 1 minute, 11.90 seconds, edging Romed Baumann by one hundredth of a second and Matthias Mayer by 0.24 seconds.
"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 several delays due to persistent fog.
Mayer had been bidding for three straight victories after winning both the downhill and super-G at Saalbach-Hinterglemm, Austria, last weekend 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.
Marco Sullivan was the highest-placed American, 0.39 behind in sixth, ahead of Austrians Vincent Riechmayr and Georg Streitberger, while fellow U.S. skiers Steven Nyman, Travis Ganong and Andrew Weibrecht were 17th, 22nd and 33rd, respectively.
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."