Ferstl is first German skier to win super-G in Kitzbuehel
KITZBUEHEL, Austria (AP) — His entire childhood Josef Ferstl admired two golden chamois in the living room, trophies his father got for winning the classic Hahnenkamm downhill twice in the 1970s.
On Sunday, Ferstl finally received his own chamois after becoming the first German winner of the World Cup super-G at the same resort.
To make the occasion even more special, organizers quickly asked Sepp Ferstl, 64 now, to hand over the trophy to his son at the official winner’s ceremony.
“It’s a dream come true. At home, I always saw those two chamois from dad and it was my dream that I wanted to win one, too,” said Ferstl, whose victory came 40 years after his father won back-to-back downhills here.
Starting first and racing on the sun-soaked Streifalm, Ferstl clocked 1 minute, 13.07 seconds on the 2.1-kilometer course, a time that remained unmatched by all pre-race favorites.
Johan Clarey of France was 0.08 behind in second, and Dominik Paris of Italy was two-hundredths further back in third. Paris had won the downhill race here Friday, and called it “a perfect weekend, to win the downhill and now on the podium, that’s fantastic.”
Austrians Vincent Kriechmayr and Matthias Mayer placed fourth and fifth, respectively.
Father and son Ferstl have visited the Hahnenkamm races many times together, as organizers each year invite all previous winners to attend the event. And they took many rides on the gondola that is named after Sepp Ferstl as one of the winners.
Sepp Ferstl remained the last German downhill winner here until Thomas Dressen won the race in 2018.
A year later, Josef Ferstl became the next German racer to take a main prize at Austria’s biggest ski racing event, which usually attracts around 80,000 visitors over three days.
It was Ferstl’s second career win, after his maiden triumph in a super-G in Val Gardena, Italy, in 2017.
“Kitzbuehel is the hardest course, the preparation is extreme and challenges the racers,” Ferstl said. “It’s a brutal fight down there. Nobody raced perfectly. It’s so bumpy and icy.”
Ferstl’s win gave an unexpected boost to his season, after recording just two top-10 finishes so far, including seventh in the downhill on the same hill Friday.
The German, however, was not the only surprise appearance on the podium.
The tough course conditions initially made second-place Clarey feel like he hadn’t done too well.
“I didn’t have a good feeling on the track,” the Frenchman said, adding he expected “maybe top 15, maybe top 10” as his result right after finishing.
Coming runner-up “was quite a surprise to me,” he added. “It’s my first super-G podium, and I am 38.”
It was the fifth top-three result of Clarey’s career, but first since placing third in the Kitzbuehel downhill two years ago.
Paris’s third place came four weeks after he triumphed in the super-G in Bormio, Italy. On Sunday, the Italian was the only starter who had won a race in the discipline this season, as all other winners were out injured.
Kjetil Jansrud of Norway broke two bones in his left hand as he tried to avoid a fall in downhill training Tuesday, and Max Franz of Austria broke a heel bone when he caught a bump in the icy surface of Friday’s downhill.
And Aksel Lund Svindal, who led the super-G standings before the race, didn’t compete because of an old right knee injury that became acute again after Tuesday’s training run. The Olympic downhill champion from Norway announced that he will retire after the world championships in February.
Kriechmayr went top of the standings with 236 points, just three ahead of Mayer, with Paris another three points back in third.
It was the last World Cup super-G before the worlds. A downhill and giant slalom in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, are scheduled for next weekend.