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Reichelt, Cuche and Thomsen? in Sochi training

Hannes Reichelt, check. Didier Cuche, check. And Benjamin Thomsen, whoa.

The top three in the first training run (Reichelt reportedly missed gates) down the spankin’ new Rosa Khutor course at Sochi, where the 2014 Olympic downhill will be, produced one big surprise when the first skier out of the gate, Thomsen, put down a sterling run that only two of the best of the season would be able to top.

It’s only a training run, of course, but it is not just any old course. A year from now there will be a gold medal on the line. Kitzbuehel, Wengen they have history and familiarity. The Rosa Khutor, not yet.

“It’s a really nice downhill,” said US coach Sasha Rearick upon arrival and inspection. “Most all elements – turns, jumps, speed and terrain.”

Statistically Sochi (at 3495m) is shorter than Wengen (4415) but longer
than Beaver Creek (2729) and Kitzbuehel (3312) and has more vertical
than any of them (1085 versus 1028, 757 and 860), so we’re talking a
pretty serious DH.

“It’s real difficult,” said Marco Sullivan. “It’s a worker for sure. It starts turning right out of the start and there’s limited areas where you can get in a tuck. On the bottom two jumps you can get in a tuck where is finally straightens out, but above that you’re working for everything.”

If there is any complaint, it’s with the set, which featured GS like turns on the higher reaches of the track.

“Downhill should be straight and fast,” said Ted Ligety, on hand mostly for the combined event that follows Saturday’s downhill. “I think it’s a little too turny for a true downhill, it’s more like a super G up top, but they have some cool jumps. You know, it’s for real and it’s not easy, that’s for sure. … It’s not a downhill you sit in the start house and feel super relaxed about. You definitely have to think about it and have to know you have to charge it.”

Travis Ganong was fastest among the US competitors in 29th with Bode Miller 32nd and Erik Fisher 38th. Andrew Weibrecht, Ted Ligety, Marco Sullivan and Will Brandenburg also took part finishing 44-49-50 and 59 respectively.

Thomsen, up until last weekend was a virtual unknown on the World Cup circuit, but that changed with 11th and fifth place finishes in the two downhills held at Chamonix. Those results appear to have given him a shot of confidence. His better known teammate Erik Guay was eighth and Jan Hudec 25th.

Travis Ganong was fastest American in 29th. Gepa photo.

Sochi (RUS)

Training
Men’s Downhill
Rank Bib FIS Code Name Year Nation Total Time
 1  22  50742 REICHELT Hannes  1980  AUT   2:12.91
 2  16  510030 CUCHE Didier  1974  SUI   2:13.16
 3  1  103271 THOMSEN Benjamin  1987  CAN   2:13.60
 4  38  293550 MARSAGLIA Matteo  1985  ITA   2:13.71
 5  23  293006 INNERHOFER Christof  1984  ITA   2:13.97
 5  19  191740 CLAREY Johan  1981  FRA   2:13.97
 7  7  291459 PARIS Dominik  1989  ITA   2:14.06
 8  20  102263 GUAY Erik  1981  CAN   2:14.24
 9  9  192746 THEAUX Adrien  1984  FRA   2:14.26
 10  13  421483 JANSRUD Kjetil  1985  NOR   2:14.41
 11  8  50858 STREITBERGER Georg  1981  AUT   2:14.48
 12  14  50753 KROELL Klaus  1980  AUT   2:14.80
 13  25  511313 JANKA Carlo  1986  SUI   2:14.86
 14  59  194190 ROGER Brice  1990  FRA   2:14.89
 15  3  192932 FAYED Guillermo  1985  FRA   2:15.11
 16  26  292455 FILL Peter  1982  ITA   2:15.24
 17  48  561067 PERKO Rok  1985  SLO   2:15.31
 18  31  380260 KOSTELIC Ivica  1979  CRO   2:15.37
 19  43  180570 ROMAR Andreas  1989  FIN   2:15.47
 20  39  200379 SANDER Andreas  1989  GER   2:15.48
 21  17  421328 SVINDAL Aksel Lund  1982  NOR   2:15.58
 22  18  51215 BAUMANN Romed  1986  AUT   2:15.70
 23  46  191964 POISSON David  1982  FRA   2:15.79
 24  15  511383 FEUZ Beat  1987  SUI   2:16.03
 25  12  102271 HUDEC Jan  1981  CAN   2:16.22
 26  42  990081 CASSE Mattia  1990  ITA   2:16.23
 27  40  511142 LUEOEND Vitus  1984  SUI   2:16.24
 28  44  561087 MARKIC Gasper  1986  SLO   2:16.26
 29  37  530874 GANONG Travis  1988  USA   2:16.27
 29  30  510890 ZURBRIGGEN Silvan  1981  SUI   2:16.27
 29  28  191591 BERTRAND Yannick  1980  FRA   2:16.27
 32  21  532431 MILLER Bode  1977  USA   2:16.28
 33  60  192504 MERMILLOD BLONDIN Thomas  1984  FRA   2:16.29
 34  65  481054 MURAVYEV Ivan  1989  RUS   2:16.31
 35  10  51327 PUCHNER Joachim  1987  AUT   2:16.37
 36  51  294277 KLOTZ Siegmar  1987  ITA   2:16.56
 37  4  53817 FRANZ Max  1989  AUT   2:16.58
 38  34  534939 FISHER Erik  1985  USA   2:16.64
 39  11  510727 DEFAGO Didier  1977  SUI   2:16.66
 40  54  510747 GRUENENFELDER Tobias  1977  SUI   2:16.67
 40  2  560447 SPORN Andrej  1981  SLO   2:16.67
 42  56  53902 MAYER Matthias  1990  AUT   2:16.99
 43  64  194364 PINTURAULT Alexis  1991  FRA   2:17.09
 44  35  530939 WEIBRECHT Andrew  1986  USA   2:17.26
 45  27  510767 HOFFMANN Ambrosi  1977  SUI   2:17.45
 46  45  380292 ZRNCIC-DIM Natko  1986  CRO   2:17.72
 47  32  50625 RAICH Benjamin  1978  AUT   2:18.04
 48  58  53853 SIEBER Bjoern  1989  AUT   2:18.05
 49  33  534562 LIGETY Ted  1984  USA   2:18.10
 50  36  533131 SULLIVAN Marco  1980  USA   2:18.36
 51  47  150398 BANK Ondrej  1980  CZE   2:18.71
 52  55  191778 PICHOT Sebastien  1981  FRA   2:19.24
 53  6  201606 KEPPLER Stephan  1983  GER   2:19.38
 54  73  92534 CHONGAROV Nikola  1989  BUL   2:20.01
 55  57  51401 GRAF Bernhard  1988  AUT   2:20.15
 56  63  51007 SCHOERGHOFER Philipp  1983  AUT   2:20.73
 57  41  501076 OLSSON Hans  1984  SWE   2:20.85
 58  79  700830 ZAMPA Adam  1990  SVK   2:20.89
 59  67  530165 BRANDENBURG Will  1987  USA   2:21.05
 60  53  294904 PANGRAZZI Paolo  1988  ITA   2:21.14
 61  66  481196 BYSTROV Andrey  1991  RUS   2:21.44
 62  72  150495 VRABLIK Martin  1982  CZE   2:22.20
 63  75  430429 BYDLINSKI Maciej  1988  POL   2:22.57
 64  70  660021 DANILOCHKIN Yuri  1991  BLR   2:22.62
 65  71  150644 KRYZL Krystof  1986  CZE   2:22.96
 66  62  380298 SIROKI Tin  1987  CRO   2:22.97
 67  69  90131 GEORGIEV Georgi  1987  BUL   2:23.13
 68  77  700724 BABUSIAK Jaroslav  1984  SVK   2:24.01
 69  74  30149 SIMARI BIRKNER Cristian Javier  1980  ARG   2:24.13
 70  52  510997 BERTHOD Marc  1983  SUI   2:24.36
 71  76  430472 KLUSAK Michal  1990  POL   2:25.26
 72  80  550022 RODE Roberts  1987  LAT   2:28.61
 73  61  20267 ESTEVE Kevin  1989  AND   2:31.75
Did not start 1st run
   68  480885 LISITSA Evgeniy  1987  RUS   
   50  561216 KLINE Bostjan  1991  SLO   
   24  511139 KUENG Patrick  1984  SUI   
Did not finish 1st run
   78  380290 SAMSAL Dalibor  1985  CRO   
   49  481705 GLEBOV Alek  1983  RUS   
   29  511529 GISIN Marc  1988  SUI   
   5  51005 SCHEIBER Mario  1983  AUT 

Hank McKee

Senior Editor

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