It was another perfect day for racing in Central Europe as bluebird skies and hard snow greeted racers for the start of the men’s super-G in Val Gardena, Italy. It was fast going as times were tight and many racers learned the hard way that one mistake could easily mean the difference between a top-10 result and not making the points at all with only 1.56 seconds separating the top-30 racers.
Norway’s Kjetil Jansrud continued his super-G winning streak, taking his third win and second super-G of the season with a total time of 1:31.93 seconds, a slim 0.06 second ahead of his compatriot and last season’s super-G crystal globe winner Aleksander Aamodt Kilde. Canada’s Erik Guay earned his first World Cup super-G podium since 2010, finishing in third, 0.13 seconds off of Jansrud’s pace.
The notoriously dark and terrain-filled Saslong track did not disappoint as it was clear early on that pinpoint line accuracy and aggression were key if you planned on walking away with the win. Wearing bib 10, Guay pushed out of the gate and skied an aggressive and powerful line, which saw him cross the finish with a sizable margin in what had been a tight race up until then. Three racers later, Kilde used a strong bottom section to barely nudge ahead of Guay for the lead. Kilde’s time in the hot seat was short-lived, however, as Jansrud skied near flawlessly top to bottom and crossed the line for the slim, yet decisive victory.
Norway looked to be on its way to repeating their podium sweep from last season as Aksel Lund Svindal managed to be within hundredths of Jansrud until getting twisted up and crashing through a gate at the bottom of the course. The big Attacking Viking managed to ski away unharmed, leaving the Norwegian faithful wondering what might have been.
Friday’s result marks Jansrud’s third win in a row after taking both the downhill and super-G two weeks ago in Val d’Isere, France. The Norwegian hopes to continue this hot streak as long as he can, but is well aware of how many competitors are eager to get on top of the podium.
“It’s humbling to be able to pull it off and for sure six hundredths is not much, but it’s enough,” he said after the race. “I am for sure taking risk, and I feel like I’m skiing very solid. I don’t know how long this can continue, but I’ll definitely try to keep it going as long as possible because it’s pretty fun. I think in skiing there’s always a risk versus reward and you need to take some risk, but you don’t want to take so much risk that you make big mistakes as we maybe saw with Aksel and some other guys today.”
Kilde’s first World Cup podium came in Val Gardena last season when he finished third in the historic Norwegian sweep of the super-G. That result kickstarted his season, and he ultimately walked away with the World Cup super-G title and hopes that Friday’s result will do the same this year.
“I think Norway likes this slope,” Kilde said. “It was really good last year with one-two-three and this year one-two. Unfortunately, we didn’t get Aksel with us this time, but he will for sure be back. It’s always fun to ski and the snow is always really, really good and today I felt pretty confident in the start. Today I showed that I can be fast, and hopefully, in the next races, I try and keep it up.”
This season marks Guay’s first in some time where he is not recovering from an injury. According to the Mont Tremblant native, the extra time in the gym and on the hill this summer is already paying dividends.
“I was able to train really hard this summer and be in the gym as much as I wanted and also on snow, getting a lot more volume compared to the years before where I was coming back from injury,” said Guay. “I think all that sort of plays a part in my start to the year. I feel a lot more comfortable on my skis. I’m really happy with the result, and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”
It was a tough day for the Americans as Travis Ganong led the way with an 18th-place finish. Only Steven Nyman also managed to finish inside of the points in 25th as Brennan Rubie finished 31st, Thomas Biesemeyer 42nd, Jared Goldberg 47th, Bryce Bennett 48th, Ryan Cochran-Siegle 51st, and Andrew Weibrecht 53rd.
The men continue racing in Val Gardena with the downhill set to kick off at 12:15 CET on Saturday.
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- Kjetil Jansrud (NOR) – Head/Head/Head
- Aleksander Aamodt Kilde (NOR) – Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
- Erik Guay (CAN) – Head/Head/Head
- Matthias Mayer (AUT) – Head/Head/Head
- Andreas Sander (GER) – Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
- Dustin Cook (CAN) – Head/Head/Head
- Max Franz (AUT) – Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
- Dominik Paris (ITA) – Nordica/Nordica/Marker
- Hannes Reichelt (AUT) – Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
- Christof Innerhofer (ITA) – Rossignol/Rossignol/Look
|Rank||Bib||FIS Code||Name||Year||Nation||Total Time||Diff.|
|2||13||422139||KILDE Aleksander Aamodt||1992||NOR||1:31.99||+0.06|
|11||39||422310||SEJERSTED Adrian Smiseth||1994||NOR||1:32.65||+0.72|
|54||65||110324||VON APPEN Henrik||1994||CHI||1:34.55||+2.62|
|59||55||6290540||DE VETTORI Matteo||1993||ITA||1:34.94||+3.01|
|Disqualified 1st run|
|Did not start 1st run|
|72||460071||ACHIRILOAIE Ioan Valeriu||1990||ROU|
|Did not finish 1st run|
|47||194542||GIRAUD MOINE Valentin||1992||FRA|
|17||421328||SVINDAL Aksel Lund||1982||NOR|