KITZBUEHEL, Austria — The weather could not have been much better on Friday for the men’s World Cup super-G in Kitzbuehel, Austria. The first race of the legendary Hahnenkamm weekend was taken by an Austrian as Matthias Mayer managed to claim the win with a time of 1:11.25, a scant 0.09 seconds ahead of Italy’s Christof Innerhofer in second and 0.44 seconds ahead of Swiss racer Beat Feuz in third.
There hasn’t been much to complain about weather-wise in Kitzbuehel thus far and Friday was no exception as crisp, cold air and clear skies lasted all day. The fast, downhill-like set — particularly from the Hausberg to the finish — provided for fast action and tricky racing as a handful of key turns proved to be the deciding factors for the podium finishers.
Mayer claimed his first World Cup win since taking the super-G in Saalbach, Austria, back in 2015 by risking where he could, but staying solid and over his downhill ski in critical sections, especially the infamous traverse before the finish where he was able to hold a high line, carrying critical speed into the Zielschuss. This is also Mayer’s first podium appearance since suffering fractured vertebra last season in Val Gardena, Italy.
“It’s a childhood dream come true, and I feel so happy at the moment,” said the 2014 Olympic downhill champion. “I’ve had a tough season so far. It was not easy for me after my crash last year in Val Gardena. I was fighting very hard. Now, I feel free. I was not thinking at the start. I just tried to push hard and give everything and that’s it at the moment. I’m happy!”
For Innerhofer, even racing this week was up in the air after knee pain due to his crash in the Santa Caterina super-G last month caused him to skip the races in Wengen, Switzerland, last week. Today’s result comes at precisely the right time for the passionate Italian to get his season back on the right track.
“It’s really amazing, what happened in this race,” Innerhofer said. “I crossed the finish line and saw green and I say, ‘Oh, I cannot believe it!’ Every time you think and hope that today I go well and today I go on the podium. I had skied well all the summer, and so I started with a big motivation this season. Then, it was not all great. I crashed in Santa Caterina and said, ‘How will I go on? My shape is not like before.’ Sometimes, it helps to think of nothing. That’s what I did today, and it’s amazing that I can be here on the podium.”
Feuz, being a man of few words, was simply content with his performance and was pleased to find himself on the podium in Kitzbuehel for the third time in his career.
“I have three ‘Gams’ trophies at home now,” he said. “I am certainly not planning to complain about it not being a gold one this time. The Hausbergkante was the deciding section of today’s race.”
The American contingent was led by Travis Ganong in 11th place, who was caught off guard at first by the slick conditions, but was able to refocus and pull together a solid top-15 result.
“It was pretty good, actually,” said Ganong in the finish. “The injection they did last night after they set the course was really rough. I was expecting grippy ice and it was just super slick and rattly and the skis were kind of going away. In the top section, I lost a lot of time just because I was not expecting the skis to feel like that. Once I kind of got my feet underneath me again, it was pretty good through the middle section and the bottom was pretty easy this year, almost as fast as the downhill, actually.”
After Ganong, Andrew Weibrecht finished in 18th place and Steven Nyman leapt from bib 51 to 19th, just behind his teammate. Thomas Biesemeyer, Jared Goldberg, and Brennan Rubie finished just outside the points in 33rd, 34th, and 35th, respectively, with Bryce Bennett finishing in 42nd and Ryan Cochran-Siegle landing in 47th place.
The men now race the Hahnenkamm downhill on Jan. 21, followed by slalom on Sunday.
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- Matthias Mayer (AUT) – Head/Head/Head
- Christof Innerhofer (ITA) – Rossignol/Rossignol/Look
- Beat Feuz (SUI) – Head/Head/Head
- Aleksander Aamodt Kilde (NOR) – Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
- Max Franz (AUT) – Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
- Dominik Paris (ITA) – Nordica/Nordica/Marker
- Peter Fill (ITA) – Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
- Josef Ferstl (GER) – Head/Head/Head
- Kjetil Jansrud (NOR) – Head/Head/Head
- Alexis Pinturault (FRA) – Head/Head/Head
|Rank||Bib||FIS Code||Name||Year||Nation||Total Time||Diff.||FIS Points||WC Points|
|4||7||422139||KILDE Aleksander Aamodt||1992||NOR||1:11.71||+0.46||6.97||50.00|
|27||54||990116||DE ALIPRANDINI Luca||1990||ITA||1:13.10||+1.85||28.04||4.00|
|32||41||194542||GIRAUD MOINE Valentin||1992||FRA||1:13.41||+2.16||32.74|
|48||43||512031||BARANDUN Gian Luca||1994||SUI||1:14.34||+3.09||46.84|
|53||63||460071||ACHIRILOAIE Ioan Valeriu||1990||ROU||1:17.82||+6.57||99.59|
|Disqualified 1st run|
|Did not finish 1st run|
|26||422310||SEJERSTED Adrian Smiseth||1994||NOR|