Hudec leads 1-3-5 Canadian showing in Chamonix
Jan Hudec has had a mash unit worth of injuries in his time and suffered through last season with a bad back and a fractured hand, but his progress toward complete recovery appears to be over.
That was one special run Jan Hudec etched down Chamonix's La Verte des Houches race track, Saturday (Feb 4) taking away a win from Austrian Romed Baumann and leading an all time great Canadian result. Erik Guay finished third and Benjamin Thomsen charged from the 50th start to finish fifth. The only better three man Canadian result was 18 years ago when Ed Podivinsky, Cary Mullen and Ralf Socher went 1-2-5 in a two run downhill at Saalbach.
"We only had three guys in the race," said Hudec, "so for us to have three in the top five I think we blew everybody out of the water."
He said the day was "the culmination of 10 years of up and down drama," but said he hoped he could continue on the World Cup for another five or six years "if I can stay healthy."
The Canadians found a fast line at the top of the course that seemed to provide an advantage. Hudec also had a pair of rocket-fast skis (Rossignol) and made a commitment to setting up for Chamonix's long gliding section. He stunned the field - and perhaps himself - winning the second of two World Cup downhills by more than half a second. Friday's race had seen five finishers within a tenth of a second of the winner.
The burly Canadian dropped to one knee in the finish as the realization washed over him. He had won his first downhill race since a similar upset at Lake Louise Nov. 24, 2007.
Baumann held on for second but had been looking to pick up his first World Cup downhill win. Getting fourth was Beat Feuz, the early season Swiss sensation, coming in fresh off reported root canal surgery.
After a narrow miss on Friday (.01) Bode Miller appeared to lack some patience in his Saturday effort. He was skiing dynamically but seemed to attack his daring line a little too aggressively then lacked the punch on the glide to seriously content. He finished eighth.
"Bode was pushing hard," said US coach Sasha Rearick, "and just got caught up a couple of times then he flew pretty far on the bottom jump and lost a bunch of time."
Erik Fisher posted 12th for the US and Travis Ganong scored in 27th. Wiley Maple crashed, lost a ski and slid into the fence. Rearick said he was fine and had gone to slalom training after the race.
by Hank McKee
Men's World Cup Downhill, Chamonix, France, Feb. 4, 2012
1 Hudec, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
2 Baumann, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
3 Guay, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
4 Feuz, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
5 Thomsen, Head/Head/Head
6 Kroell, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
7 Cuche, Head/Head/Head
8 Miller, Head/Head/Head
9 Clarey, Head/Head/Head
10 Sporn, Elan/Lange/Elan
Men's World Cup downhill, Chamonix, France, Feb. 4, 2012. ... It is the 26th race of the men's 45 (now 44) race schedule. ... the eighth of 11 downhills. ... It is the 32nd World Cup hosted at least in part at Chamonix. ... the 13th downhill.
It is the second career World Cup victory for Jan Hudec, the previous also in DH scored at Lake Louise Nov. 24, 2007. ... It is just his third career Cup podium, the other a third place finish also coming early in the 2008 season. ... It is the first Canadian win at Chamonix since Ken Read and Dave Murray went 1-2 in 1978.
It is the eighth career World Cup podium for Romed Baumann. ... and his third in DH. ... It is his second podium of the season, both second place finishes in DH, the other at Kitzbuehel. ... He has also been fourth twice this season, both in DH.
It is the 17th career World Cup podium for Erik Guay. ... his 11th in DH. ... It is his first career Cup podium at Chamonix. ... It is his second podium of the season after placing second last weekend at Garmisch. ... and his seventh single digit placing. ... It is the first double podium for Canada since Jan. 20, 2007 when Guay was second and Manuel Osborne-Paradis third.
North Americans: It is a career best World Cup result for Benjamin Thomsen. ... His previous best had been 11th from the day before on the same course. ... He was closer in time to the winner in 11th the previous day than in fifth in this race. ... Canadians last had three finishers in the top five Nov. 29, 2009 at Lake Louise SG (Osborne-Paradis 1, Guay 4, Robbie Dixon 5). ... Bode Miller matches his worst of eight finishes at Chamonix. ... Erik Fisher places 12th for the second consecutive day, matching his third best career score. ... It is the 11th career scoring result for Travis Ganong, his sixth of the season.
Standings: Ivica Kostelic (48th in race) leads the World Cup overall standings 905-825 over Marcel Hirscher (did not race). ... Beat Feuz (fourth in race) is third with 733pts. ... Ted Ligety (did not race) is sixth with 578 and Miller seventh with 562pts. ... Didier Cuche (seventh in race) leads the Cup downhill standings 473-437 for Klaus Kroell (sixth in race). ... Feuz is third with 368pts, Miller fourth with 333pts and Guay sixth with 310. ... Hudec moves into ninth with 242pts. ... Austria leads the mens' Nations Cup 4336-2665 for Switzerland. ... Italy is third with 2216pts. ... The US is fifth with 1573pts and Canada sixth with 1124pts.
FIS World Cup
|Rank||Bib||FIS Code||Name||Year||Nation||Total Time||FIS Points|
|16||14||421328||SVINDAL Aksel Lund||1982||NOR||2:04.86||17.37|
|50||58||400281||HEEK, VAN Marvin||1991||NED||2:07.22||42.84|
|Did not finish 1st run|
|63||30149||SIMARI BIRKNER Cristian Javier||1980||ARG|