Raich wins his first speed race in Swiss super G
Benjamin Raich, 34, collected his first World Cup win in three seasons when he took the second of two super G's at Crans-Montana, Switzerland Saturday (Feb. 25). With 36 wins now in his World Cup locker, he had never won a super G previously.
With temperatures bumping up against 50-f, Frenchman Adrien Theaux, 27, was second, falling .24 of a second short of winning his first super G while Friday's winner Didier Cuche, 37, took third.
Canadian Jan Hudec posted fifth behind Klaus Kroell.
"This is huge," said Raich with a grin to match on his face. "I am overjoyed."
With nine races left on the season just 15 points separate the top three in the World Cup overall standings. The two super G's were a great opportunity for Beat Feuz to make up ground on leader Marcel Hischer and runner up Ivica Kostelic, but he finished 10th in today's race and 20th Friday. Hirscher started his first speed race in Friday's super G, failed to score points and declined to start today. Kostelic has undergone surgery and is not expected to return until the tour reaches Kransjka Gora, Slovenia March 10.
The race for the super G crown, with three still remaining, also tightened dramatically. Leader Aksel Lund Svindal was ninth for 29 points while Cuche added another 60 for second and closed within seven points (288-281). Hudec, with 45pts for fifth, sits third at 210.
"I'm disappointed I missed the podium today," said Hudec. "I really felt like I had a chance. 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."
The track deteriorated quickly and the last two-thirds of the field of 72 starters was hard pressed to complete their run on the bumpy and soft hill. At one point six straight racers were listed as DNF's, though no major injuries were reported.
"After bib 28 the light just went away," said US coach Sasha Rearick. "It got really flat. Ligety and Cochran-Siegle did a great job of dealing with that."
With Bode Miller electing not to test a balky knee - he had an arthoscopy on his left knee earlier in the week - the Americans still had three in the points. Andrew Weibrecht was 20th, Ted Ligety 22nd and Ryan Cochran-Siegle 26th. Marco Sullivan finished 45th and four skiers, Wiley Maple, Travis Ganong, Tommy Ford and Thomas Biesemeyer joined the 21 who did not finish or were DQ'd. Miller is expected to start Sunday's GS.
Raich photo by Gepa
by Hank McKee
Men's World Cup super G, Crans-Montana, Switzerland, Feb. 25, 2012
1 Raich, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
2 Theaux, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
3 Cuche, Head/Head/Head
4 Kroell, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
5 Hudec, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
6 Puchner, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
7 Jansrud, Head/Head/Head
8 Reichelt, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
9 Svindal, Head/Head/Head
10 Feuz, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
Men's World Cup super G, Crans-Montana, Switzerland, Feb. 25, 2012. ... It is the 35th of 44 races on the men's 2012 World Cup schedule. ... The fifth of eight scheduled super G's. ... It is the second of a three race set at Crans-Montana. ... and the 33rd Cup race hosted at least in part by the site.
It is the 36th career World Cup win for Benjamin Raich - he is sixth all time among men - his first in super G. ... It is his first win since taking a combined at Val d'Isere Dec. 11, 2009. ... He had been second in five Cup super G's previously, the most recent at Hinterstoder Feb. 5, 2011.
It is the sixth career World Cup podium result for Adrien Theaux and third in SG. ... It is his best result of the season, but his third podium. ... He was third in SG at Lake Louise in November and third in DH at Sochi last week.
It is the 67th career World Cup podium result for Didier Cuche. ... his 23rd in SG. ... It is his third career Cup podium at Crans-Montana in four scoring results. ... It is his seventh podium result of the season, announced as his final campaign.
North Americans: It is the seventh career World Cup top five for Jan Hudec. ... third in SG. ... It is his fourth top five of the season and second in two days having been second in Friday's SG. ... It is the second consecutive day Erik Guay has finished 13th. ... those are his ninth and tenth best of 12 scoring finishes this season. ... Andrew Weibrecht tallies his 12th best of 21 career Cup scores. ... It matches his second best finish of the season. ... Ted Ligety matches his eighth best career SG placing. ... It is his best SG finish of the season. ... It is the second and best career Cup result for Ryan Cochran-Siegle.
Standings: Marcel Hirscher (did not race) maintains the lead of the World Cup overall standings 1055-1043 over Ivica Kostelic (did not race). ... Beat Feuz (10th in race) is third with 1040. ... Ligety is eighth with 645pts and Bode Miller 10th with 612pts. ... Hudec is the top Canadian in 16th with 459pts, Erik Guay 17th with 437pts. ... Aksel Lund Svindal (ninth in race) leads the super G standings 288-281 over Didier Cuche. ... Hudec moves to third with 210pts. ... Miller leads US skiers in 11th with 119pts.