The results sheet pretty much tells the story: a swath of Austrians, Italians and Swiss finishing in close proximity, all led by the lone Norwegian in a league of his own at the top. A slim .63 seconds separated the next 10 racers while Kjetil Jansrud managed nearly a half-second gap over his nearest competitor, Dominik Paris.
Jansrud has now won four of the first six speed races this season — he took second in the other two — and leads the overall by 152 points ahead of Marcel Hirscher, who may have something to say about that in the upcoming tech events on Sunday and Monday. With Paris sitting in a distant third, a cross-discipline, two-horse race has formed in this early stage of the season standings.
Saturday’s win was anything but a layup for Jansrud. Warm weather and lack of snow nearly stymied the weekend, but a “miraculous” effort by the organizer and course workers got the races off. The result has been a thin layer of snow and slick, bumpy conditions on the Saslong with athletes claiming to be able to feel the earth underneath their skis.
Jansrud captured an impressive .43-second lead out of the start and improved that advantage to seven-tenths by the second split. But a big mistake through the technical Ciaslat section sent the Norwegian to the tales of his skis, rolling down the windows in an effort to recover. And recover he did, losing some of that advantage but skiing a clean-enough run through the finish to hang on to the win.
“I feel like I have good balance,” said Jansrud. “Obviously I had some problems going into the Ciaslat area, but I’m not losing on my line. I feel like the minor mistakes never really develop into big mistakes. I can pull myself back into it. I’m trying to let my ski run, but all the other guys do the same. Somehow, I’m finding the tenths where others don’t.”
As for the overall, Jansrud expects he could be 50 points behind after the GS and slalom races forthcoming.
“That’s just the way (Hirscher) has been this year,” Jansrud said. “It’s cool to be fighting for it, but it’s not exciting until January is over. There’s an important day tomorrow with the GS — not just for the overall, I want to see what I can do in GS. It’s optimistic to think I can go over there and score a lot of points — but I can try.”
For the Italian Paris, competing on home snow, it’s two podiums in as many days — by far the best results of his career at the venue.
“The super G, a second podium, it’s amazing because I didn’t think I could do it,” said Paris. “The snow was difficult. The top was more grippy and the last part was very icy. It was more slippery. It was very hard to find the right line.”
Paris led an Italian team that landed three in the top 10, including Christof Innerhofer, who’s been struggling with lower back pain and who cracked the top 20 for the first time this season: fifth, by far his best result.
Meanwhile the Austrians managed to pack four in the top 10, the fastest being Hannes Reichelt, winner of the Birds of Prey super G, who finished third.
“It wasn’t quite as perfect as Beaver Creek — Beaver Creek was really perfect,” said Reichelt. “Today (Jansrud) showed us how to ski super G. It was really a nice by him. … To beat Kjetil is really tough at the moment. He’s in shape, and he’s in the flow. He just gets on his skis and is fast and I don’t know why.”
Another Austrian of note, 23-year-old Vincent Kriechmayr, skied to a personal best fourth-place result.
It was largely a toss day for the Americans. Andrew Weibrecht and Travis Ganong led the team in 19th and 26th respectively. With high hopes in super G this season, Ted Ligety got knocked around through the icy Ciaslat section and missed a tough gate, recording the DNF. Yesterday’s remarkable downhill winner Steven Nyman was also a DNF. Rounding out the U.S. representation was Jared Goldberg, 38th, Bryce Bennett, 41st, Tommy Biesemeyer, 42nd, and Tim Jitloff, 51st.
Canadian Dustin Cook matched his career-best result from Beaver Creek by tying for 12th, but he posted on social media after the race to say the result brought mixed emotions.
“The speed is there, just gotta harness it for a full run!” Cook wrote.
By Hank McKee
1 Jansrud, Head/Head/Head
3 Reichelt, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
4 Kriechmayr, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
5 Innerhofer, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
6 Janka, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
7 Marsaglia, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
8 Baumann, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
Men’s World Cup super G, Val Gardena, Italy, Dec. 20, 2014:
- It is the 11th race of the men’s 36 race World Cup season with one cancellation (city event at Munich). … It is the third of six scheduled super G’s, the last until Feb. 22nd at Saalbach. … It is the final race of the 47th Saslong events at Val Gardena … the 14th World Cup super G held at the site. … The injured Aksel Lund Svindal had won the two previous super G’s Dec. 14, 2012 and Dec. 20, 2013.
- It is the seventh career World Cup win for Kjetil Jansrud … his fourth in super G and third in super G in this calendar year. … It is his fourth win of the season and second in super G. … He has placed first or second in each super G and downhill held this season. … It is his first win at Val Gardena, but he has been top four at the site in his last seven races there. … Winning margin is .46. … top nine skiers are within same second.
- It is the seventh career World Cup podium placing for Dominik Paris … his second in two days at Val Gardena. … It is his second career super G podium, both coming this season.
- It is the 30th career World Cup podium for Hannes Reichelt … his 13th in super G. … It is his second SG podium at Val Gardena.
- Dustin Cook matches his best career finish, also in super G, from earlier this season at Beaver Creek. … It is the 21st top-20 finish for Andrew Weibrecht. … It is his second best finish at Val Gardena after a 15th in super G in 2009. … It is the 14th best Val Gardena result for Manuel Osborne-Paradis. … It is the eighth best career super G result for Travis Ganong.
- Jansrud strengthens his lead of the World Cup overall standings 592-440 over Marcel Hirscher (did not race). … Dominik Paris is third with 345pts. … Ted Ligety (did not finish) holds sixth at 246pts. … Steven Nyman (did not finish) slips out of the top 10 into 11th with 177pts. … Manny Osborne-Paradis leads Canada in 14th with 153pts.
- Jansrud leads the super G standings 280-200 over Hannes Reichelt. … Dominik Paris is third with 185pts. … Dustin Cook is 12th with 66pts and Andrew Weibrecht 17th with 49pts.
- Austria leads the men’s Nations Cup 1686-1075 over Italy. … France is third with 1013pts. … The U.S. is sixth at 726 and Canada eighth at 372pts.
|21||12||192504||MERMILLOD BLONDIN Thomas||1984||FRA||1:35.42||+1.55||17.83|
|57||60||422275||JOHANSEN Ola Buer||1993||NOR||1:37.90||+4.03||46.37|
|Did not start 1st run|
|26||422139||KILDE Aleksander Aamodt||1992||NOR|
|Did not finish 1st run|