At age 32, Swiss skier Mauro Caviezel got the first win of his late-blooming career in a World Cup super-G on Saturday.
Caviezel topped a podium with two racers getting their first career top-3 finishes. He was 0.10 seconds faster than Adrian Smiseth Sejersted of Norway and 0.54 clear of Austrian Christian Walder.
Caviezel’s victory came at a special place in the French Alps. At Val d’Isère 19 years ago, his childhood idol Silvano Beltrametti was left paralyzed by a crash in downhill.
Beltrametti has since been a mentor for Caviezel, who comes from the same Graubünden region of Switzerland.
Caviezel won the opening super-G wearing the red bib noting he was the discipline standings champion last season. That title was earned with consistency – top-5 placings in all six races – without a signature win.
Travis Ganong’s fourth place Saturday, 0.76 back, was his best World Cup result in nearly four years. The American racer won a downhill in January 2017 at Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. Saturday’s fourth-place finish matches his career-best in the discipline of super-G. His previous best in super-G was fourth in November of 2015.
“I’m really happy,” said Travis. “We haven’t raced in so long—we’ve been training a ton and I just kinda forgot what racing is all about. It’s so much more fun to race than train. Being in the start gate and knowing that you have one shot to put it all out on the line and take some risk and see what happens—it’s awesome.”
Bryce Bennett was the next U.S. man to finish and took 33rd. Ryan Cochran-Siegle, who went down on his hip on the upper section of the course, was 47th and Jared Goldberg 49th. Sam DuPratt did not finish.
Super-G races typically have tricky passages for speed racers who do not ski on the course-setting until a brief inspection in the early morning.
World Cup defending overall champion Aleksander Aamodt Kilde was among several losing time trying to navigate tight, right-hand turns. He placed 12th, exactly one second behind Caviezel.
Matthias Mayer, the Olympic champion in super-G, put his right hand to the snow to regain balance and placed 11th.
Alexis Pinturault was seventh and leads the early season World Cup standings. He was edged for the title by Kilde when last season ended early during the coronavirus pandemic.
Pinturault has a small 16-point lead over Marco Odermatt of Switzerland, who won a giant slalom in Italy on Monday.
Val d’Isère stages the first downhill of the season on Sunday. The weekend race schedule was flipped because better weather is expected Sunday.
Men’s World Cup – Super G – Val d’Isere, France – Dec. 12, 2020