Aksel Lund Svindal took his fourth win in Beaver Creek, his 23rd career win, with a superb display of downhill racing in the Beaver Creek, Birds of Prey Downhill. Svindal used the luxury of going last in the top seeds to post … Â the fastest time through virtually all the split times and then destroy any hope that Hannes Reichelt had of holding on to the race win, with a tremendous final section that put any doubt about who would win the race to bed. Peter Fill took third place with Manny Osborne-Paradis taking fourth and Patrick Kueng in fifth ahead of the returning Beat Feuz.
With the racers only having had the chance to have one training run down the course due to inclement weather and delays in being able to get into Beaver Creek, this was not an ideal set up for the racers. The course was sixty per cent new as Beaver Creek gets ready to host the 2015 World Championships. Erik Guay had been fastest in the one training run that happened and while many of the pundits felt that the new top section heavily favoured the Super G specialists, to come first, first you have to get down.
After a great race in Lake Louise, first racer down, Mathias Mayer, looked to be on for posting a fine run from number 1 when all of a sudden, two thirds of the way down the course, the Austrian pulled up having missed a gate at high speed. With the next five racers all posting faster times than the previous person, it looked like the spectators were in for a great race. After six racers Peter Fill lead with Manny Osborne-Paradis in second and Travis Ganong in third. Little did he know it but Peter Fill was in for a long wait in the leaders box and eventually his long wait to get back on the podium, four years since he was last there, would be over.
The way the speed racers are set up on the World Cup, the tension and expectation rises with the first 15 racers. The hopes of Clarey and Streitberger disappeared early, then Jansrud, Franz, Poisson and Miller all failed to set the score board alight as they made small errors. Reichelt then grabbed the lead from Fill and then saw Innerhofer, last years winner; Guay, the training run winner; Theaux, podium in Lake Louise; Paris, winner in Lake Louise and Kroell, really off the pace and runner up last week in Lake Louise, all off the pace. Could he start to dream of adding to his race wins on the World Cup? Reichelt is a past winner of the Super G World Cup so it was no surprise the 34 year old had been fast. Then came Svindal!
Svindal won the Super G last week in Lake Louise and is the defending World Cup Champion in Super G. While he said after the race: “I have to admit, I like the old course more. This course is great, but the old Birds of Prey course was world class. But in the end it’s all about the win, so I can’t say that I’m too disappointed with the change.” Svindal admitted that he had been able to let his skis run on the final run into the finish and take his 23rd career World Cup win and extend his lead at the head of the Overall World Cup standings as well as take over the lead in the Downhill standings from Dominic Paris, who finished down in 9th place.
TJ Baldwin had a hard day at the office and finished in 65th spot