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Innerhofer grabs super G gold at Worlds

The men’s super G of the FIS World Ski Championships at Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany today (Feb. 9) was not just a gorgeous test, it was an exam. Christof Innerhofer graduated, rising to the challenge to record the second ever super G championships for an Italian male.

In collecting his first career super G victory Innerhofer pushed Austrian Hannes Reichelt into second and a silver medal while the incredible Ivica Kostelic continued what is surely a career season with the bronze.

Bode Miller, definitely gunning for the championship, produced his usual exciting performance, survived his first error and cashed in after the second, standing for the final gates of the Kandahar 2 course and wound up 12th, narrowly ahead of U.S. youngster Tommy Ford in 14th.

If there was a true star – or perhaps villain – on the day it was the gnarly track itself. Under a clear sky, the tough but fair course drops through the Bavarian forest presenting a hard but scratchable surface. On top of that it is rough and bumpy. It took until the eighth skier of the morning, Austrian Romed Baumann, before anyone had truly skied the course. As the core of the first seed rolled through the start order it became evident the man who could conquer the Kandahar would be a true champion.

Miller, running 11th, appeared he might be that man. With a lead he caught his arm on a gate and had his ski pole ripped from his grip. It wasn’t so much a mistake as a misfortune. The gate had caused grief to most of the ten racing in front of him and would continue to pester the field. He was on a high enough line and though his momentum was sucked away by the drag of his pole, he continued to put up good splits. His second mistake, above the finish, was much more costly. Without hope of the win in a race where fourth place matters not a wit, he stood and coasted to the finish.

“Once I made that mistake, I could have tucked to the finish, but my speed was already gone,” Miller said. “It was challenging, but I think it was what this course really should be. If it was smooth and soft it would have been really basic. You see a guy like Innerhofer ski that way he did, he deserves to win it. I was impressed with the way he skied.”

Reichelt, skiing right after Miller, produced the first complete run of the day for a huge .88 lead over Baumann. But Innerhofer, who has produced half of his top six World Cup placings this season, was clean and on line in his run as well as six tenths of a second faster than the Austrian.

“I really liked the course, actually,” said Innerhofer who dedicated the victory to a large group from his fan club present.  “I felt great, felt strong. I promised myself I would not take fourth again. I tried to be as aggressive as I could. It’s better to let the skis run and not think about it too much.”

Kostelic, a slalom winner on the World Cup since 2001 and the World slalom champ in 2003, has a new found artistry in the speed disciplines, something he illustrated in certain fashion by winning the Kitzbuehel super G just weeks ago. Solid on his skis as usual he kept pace with the two leaders, gave away nothing and wound up on the podium, a placing 10 better than anything even his World Champion sister Janica ever put up in a World Championship super G, (She did win silver in the discipline twice in Olympic competition).

The defending champion Didier Cuche skied well but dropped back steadily from the leaders to finish fourth, more than a second off the winning pace. Austrians Benjamin Raich and Romed Baumann were fifth and sixth respectively with strong, but hardly error free races.  Swiss Carlo Janka, in seventh, touched a hip to the ground in his run. On the DNF list were skiers of undeniable calibre: defending super G World Cup champion Erik Guay, reigning Olympic SG champion Aksel Lund Svindal, Ted Ligety and this season’s SG winner at Lake Louise Tobias Gruenenfelder. They were among a list that stretched to 30.

At 36 Cuche has seen his share of tough courses, but said if this test wasn’t the most difficult it was near the top of the list. “It is a really tough course, a long and blind super G. The snow is hard, but that is not the problem. The problem is that it is so bumpy it makes you really tired and makes it hard to keep the perfect line.”

Or much of any line at all. Kostelic said he would need to skip some race during the rest of this World Championship in order to recover.

“Really it was THE most difficult run I have ever competed in, in any discipline. You had to go to your physical limits.” He said. He said visibility was an issue, something not normally associated with clear blue skies. But the course winds through the forest in the shade and the sun reflects off
snow covered mountains across the valley. Not being able to clearly see the bumpy terrain, he said, heightens the impact of the bumpy course. He also said he expended enough energy to supply a nucleur power plant, but added, “It makes me really proud to be the first male medal in speed events for Croatia.” There are, he said, no super G tracks anywhere in the country.

The silver medal for Reichelt, he said, was “a big step in my career.” He only won a place on the Austria championship team at Hinterstoder last weekend, and then came up with the men’s first medal.

“It was one of the most difficult runs I have participated in. It took great strength,” he said, adding he didn’t feel comfortable at any point on course. 

About the only one who did, apparently, was Innerhofer. Said U.S. coach Sasha Rearick: “Innerhofer today threw down and deserved to win over the rest of the gus. He skied with tremendous guts and heart.”

A+

The SCOOP

Men’s World Championship super G, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, Feb. 9, 2011
Equipment

Skier, skis/boots/bindings
1 Innerhofer, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
2 Reichelt, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
3 Kostelic, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
4 Cuche, Head/Head/Head
5 Raich, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
6 Baumann, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
7 Janka, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
8 Heel, Head/Head/Head
9 Fill, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
10 Theaux, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon

Men’s World Championship super G, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, Feb. 9, 2011.
… It is the second event of 11 of the World title meet. … the first men’s event.

It is the first career World Championship medal for Christof Innerhofer. … He  finished 4th in SG at the 2009 Championships. … He was sixth in SG at the 2010 Olympics. … His best World Cup SG result is third at Are,  March 12, 2009. … It is the 49th World Championship medal for Italy, the 17th gold.

It is the first World championship result for Hannes Reichelt. … He was tenth in SG at the 2010 Olympics, his only result of the Games. … He has five World Cup wins, four of them in SG, but only one since 2008, coming last weekend at Hinterstoder. … It is the 202nd World Championship medal for Austria (plus a team medal).

It is the second World Championship medal for Ivica Kostelic having won the gold medal in slalom at St Moritz Feb. 16, 2003. … He has three silver Olympic medals, combined in 2006, slalom and combined 2010. … His best Olympic SG finish is 16th. … His best SG finish at Worlds had been 32nd in 1999. … No Croat had ever won a World Championship medal in super G or downhill. … It is the eighth Croatian World Championship medal.

Gepa images

Place   Garmisch-Partenkirchen
(GER)
  Discipline   Super G
Date   09.02.2011   Category   FIS World Ski Championships
Race codex   0067   Gender   M
Valid for FIS Points   YES   TD Name   Stocker Rudolf (AUT)
       
  
Rank Bib FIS Code Name Year Nation Total Time FIS Points
 1  15  293006 INNERHOFER Christof  1984  ITA   1:38.31  0.00
 2  12  50742 REICHELT Hannes  1980  AUT   1:38.91  6.47
 3  19  380260 KOSTELIC Ivica  1979  CRO   1:39.03  7.76
 4  18  510030 CUCHE Didier  1974  SUI   1:39.34  11.11
 5  21  50625 RAICH Benjamin  1978  AUT   1:39.65  14.45
 6  8  51215 BAUMANN Romed  1986  AUT   1:39.79  15.96
 7  16  511313 JANKA Carlo  1986  SUI   1:40.03  18.55
 8  9  292514 HEEL Werner  1982  ITA   1:40.13  19.62
 9  14  292455 FILL Peter  1982  ITA   1:40.34  21.89
 10  13  192746 THEAUX Adrien  1984  FRA   1:40.44  22.97
 11  17  50041 WALCHHOFER Michael  1975  AUT   1:40.51  23.72
 12  11  532431 MILLER Bode  1977  USA   1:41.06  29.65
 13  27  510890 ZURBRIGGEN Silvan  1981  SUI   1:41.12  30.30
 14  24  531799 FORD Tommy  1989  USA   1:41.21  31.27
 15  25  293550 MARSAGLIA Matteo  1985  ITA   1:41.26  31.81
 16  4  560332 JERMAN Andrej  1978  SLO   1:41.35  32.78
 17  45  150398 BANK Ondrej  1980  CZE   1:41.36  32.89
 18  23  530874 GANONG Travis  1988  USA   1:41.49  34.29
 19  43  103271 THOMSEN Benjamin  1987  CAN   1:41.92  38.92
 20  28  560447 SPORN Andrej  1981  SLO   1:42.20  41.94
 21  35  200379 SANDER Andreas  1989  GER   1:42.40  44.10
 22  1  560406 GORZA Ales  1980  SLO   1:42.45  44.64
 23  5  500150 JAERBYN Patrik  1969  SWE   1:42.49  45.07
 24  48  501324 OLSSON Matts  1988  SWE   1:42.55  45.72
 25  3  192653 FREY Thomas  1984  FRA   1:42.81  48.52
 26  40  380292 ZRNCIC-DIM Natko  1986  CRO   1:43.15  52.19
 27  47  481006 ZUEV Stepan  1988  RUS   1:43.63  57.36
 28  55  420148 KARLSEN Truls Ove  1975  NOR   1:44.01  61.46
 29  57  20174 VIDOSA Roger  1984  AND   1:44.84  70.41
 30  61  90131 GEORGIEV Georgi  1987  BUL   1:45.23  74.61
 31  51  410270 CAFE Tim  1987  NZE   1:45.24  74.72
 32  41  410266 GRIFFIN Benjamin  1986  NZE   1:45.63  78.93
 33  56  350087 KINDLE Nicola  1991  LIE   1:46.75  91.00
 34  58  660021 DANILOCHKIN Yuri  1991  BLR   1:46.81  91.65
 35  68  670037 ZAKURDAEV Igor  1987  KAZ   1:47.12  94.99
 36  66  700868 FALAT Matej  1993  SVK   1:48.26  107.28
 37  63  430472 KLUSAK Michal  1990  POL   1:48.29  107.61
 38  65  710320 LAIKERT Igor  1991  BIH   1:48.43  109.12
 39  60  670058 KOSHKIN Dmitriy  1986  KAZ   1:49.07  116.02
 40  73  690086 FESHCHUK Rostyslav  1990  UKR   1:49.79  123.78
 41  69  670029 PIMENOV Taras  1984  KAZ   1:51.04  137.26
Did not start 1st run
     680054 GEDEVANISHVILI Dimitri  1993  GEO     
     191591 BERTRAND Yannick  1980  FRA     
Did not finish 1st run
     220874 BALDWIN TJ  1990  GBR     
     92534 CHONGAROV Nikola  1989  BUL     
     510747 GRUENENFELDER Tobias  1977  SUI     
     194364 PINTURAULT Alexis  1991  FRA     
     102263 GUAY Erik  1981  CAN     
     170131 FAARUP Christoffer  1992  DAN     
     670059 CHERNICHENKO Pavel  1986  KAZ     
     151099 SYROVATKA Mark  1989  CZE     
     910003 LINDNER Georg  1983  MDA     
     910004 DEFLORIAN Mirko  1980  MDA     
     180570 ROMAR Andreas  1989  FIN     
     480736 KHOROSHILOV Alexander  1984  RUS     
     20267 ESTEVE RIGAIL Kevin  1989  AND     
     421328 SVINDAL Aksel Lund  1982  NOR     
     201811 STECHERT Tobias  1985  GER     
     561085 KRIZAJ Andrej  1986  SLO     
     30149 SIMARI BIRKNER Cristian Javier  1980  ARG     
     511352 VILETTA Sandro  1986  SUI     
     220656 DRAKE Ed  1986  GBR     
     380290 SAMSAL Dalibor  1985  CRO     
     501076 OLSSON Hans  1984  SWE     
     491129 TERRA Ferran  1987  SPA     
     534562 LIGETY Ted  1984  USA     
     380298 SIROKI Tin  1987  CRO     
     491151 DE LA CUESTA Paul  1988  SPA     
     700724 BABUSIAK Jaroslav  1984  SVK     
     430429 BYDLINSKI Maciej  1988  POL     
     421483 JANSRUD Kjetil  1985  NOR     
     102271 HUDEC Jan  1981  CAN     
     150421 ZAHROBSKY Petr  1980  CZE   

Hank McKee

Senior Editor

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