Michael Walchhofer had won twice before in super G, and one of those was at Val Gardena. But this win, six years after his first SG win on the track in 2004, was an unexpected kiss for his farewell tour.
Walchhofer dominated the field on a slick Saslong track and in a light snowfall with a .67 of a second margin over German Stephan Keppler, left still looking for his first Cup win but reveling in making his first podium.
Defending World Cup super G champion Erik Guay was third, his first venture into a top 10 this season, keeping him in sight of the tour leaders.
Guay said the course was “good firm snow,” adding that it started snowing, “about 15 (starters) which didn’t effect me that much but I think it slowed things down for the later skiers. Visibility wasn’t great, but they put a lot of color on the course.”
He said the result might have been better but entering the Mauer, “…it’s a blind gate and I aimed for the outside gate and not the inside. That may have cost me.”
Walchhofer credited a relaxed attitude for helping him with the success he has already experienced this season. He said his exit of the Ciaslat was “really perfect,” and immediately set his sites on winning the Val Gardena downhill on Saturday (Dec. 18).
It was the fourth win for Walchhofer at Val Gardena, matching him with Franz Klammer and Kristian Ghedina for the record. A win in the downhill would give him that record alone.
Visibility continued to deteriorate throughout the race, but as gray as it was, the day was still a good one for the Austrians. Aside from Walchhofer the team got fourth from Benjamin Raich and fifth from Romed Baumann, plus two additional top 10 finishes from Klaus Kroell and Georg Streitberger.
Bode Miller again led the U.S. Team, but again not in the fashion he’d like. A critical error on course left him scrambling to regain his line and he dropped two seconds off Walchhofer’s pace to finish 16th, just behind Canadian Manuel Osborne-Paradis. Marco Sullivan got his first point of the season in 30th. The rest of the U.S. squad was lodged between Steven Nyman in 40th and Andrew Weibrecht in 48th.
“Bode was putting the hammer down, really hard,” said coach Sasha Rearick. “He wanted to go as hard as he could.” Rearick said Miller got too tight on a delay gate at the Mauer section of the course. “It was just too aggressive for that situation and he just couldn’t bring back.”
That was a killer mistake as the Mauer leads to a flat before entering the Camel bumps. “Once he got back up to speed,” Rearick said, “he skied really well.”
The coach said Marco Sullivan has been improving every race, but still isn’t where the coaches expect him to be. “He’s committing more down the fall line and looking for speed which is good to see, but he’s not skiing as fast as we know he can and will.”
There were a handful of big name DNF’s as Aksel Lund Svindal and Mario Scheiber missed gates and Canadian Robbie Dixon was also registered as did not finish. None appeared badly injured. “Just some bruises,” said Svindal, who felt he would have had a podium result had be completed the race.
Walchhofer photos by GEPA
by Hank McKee
Men’s super G, Val Gardena, Italy, Dec. 17, 2010
1 Walchhofer, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
2 Keppler, Head/Head/Head
3 Guay, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
4 Raich, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
5 Baumann, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
6 Zurbriggen, Rossignol/Lange/Rossignol
7 Heel, Head/Head/Head
8 Janka, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
9 Streitberger, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
10 Kroell, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
Men’s World Cup super G, Val Gardena, Italy, Dec. 17, 2010. … It is the 10th race on the original 38 race men’s World Cup schedule. … It is the eighth race held with one cancellation and one postponed race. … It is the third of seven scheduled super G’s. … It is the 70th World Cup event held at least in part at Val Gardena (including parallel slaloms and combineds). … It is the tenth Cup super G at the site. … The last four SG winners (Aksel Svindal ’09, Werner Heel ’08, Didier Cuche ’07 and Bode Miller ’06) are all participating.
It is the 17th career World Cup win for Michael Walchhofer. … His third in super G and second in super G at Val Gardena, the previous coming Dec. 17, 2004. … It is his fourth Cup win at Val Gardena. … It is his second win of the season, the other in DH at Lake Louise.
It is the first career World Cup podium for Stephen Keppler. … His previous best result had been eighth, scored once in DH at Lake Louise (Nov. 25, 2006) and once in super G at Val Gardena (Dec. 15, 2006).
It is the 14th career World Cup podium result for Erik Guay, his sixth in super G. … It is his second SG podium at Val Gardena having finished second in 2005.
Manuel Osborne-Paradis matches his fifth best career World cup SG result. … four of those six results have come in the current calendar year. … He has just one top 10 result, a win at Lake Louise in November 2009. … It is the 12th best World Cup result at Val Gardena for Bode Miller. … Francois Bourque matches his 17th best career Cup SG result. …. It is the 49th career scoring result for Marco Sullivan and his first of the season.
Walchhofer takes the lead of the World Cup overall standings 249-238 over Benjamin Raich (4th in race). … Aksel Lund Svindal (DNF) is third at 236. … Ted Ligety (did not race) is fourth overall with 221pts. … Erik Guay is top Canadian in 25th with 84pts. … Walchhofer leads the super G standings 149-147 over Georg Streitberger (9th in race). … Tobias Gruenenfelder (13th in race) is third at 130. … Guay is 12th with 77pts. … Bode Miller is top U.S. skier on the super G chart in 21st place with 37pts.
Austria extends its lead for the men’s Nations Cup 1549-999 for Switzerland. … France is third at 608. … Canada holds sixth place with 386 and the U.S. seventh with 327pts.
|Rank||Bib||FIS Code||Name||Year||Nation||Total Time||FIS Points|
|39||33||191746||DE TESSIERES Gauthier||1981||FRA||1:37.84||39.21|
|Did not start 1st run|
|Did not finish 1st run|
|69||60159||VAN BUYNDER Frederik||1988||BEL|
|22||421328||SVINDAL Aksel Lund||1982||NOR|