There is an old saying that a race is not over until the last racer is down and this is what was proved in the second Super G of the World Cup season. Patrick Kueng came down from a start number of 28 to win his first World Cup race. If that had the crowd cheering, … Otmar Striedinger, from Austria further upset the apple cart in coming from bib number 45 to take second. With Peter Fill and Hannes Reichelt taking joint third place, World Champion Ted Ligety put in a great race on the same skis he used at the World Championships to take fifth place overall. Mr Super G, Aksel Lund Svindal was down in seventh after having made a mistake in the middle section of the course.
There are a lot of racers that are on their way back from injury and the start list had a good feel about it. 2010 Overall Champion Carlo Janka got things going and while his run was not awe inspiring, it was clean and it was tidy but going number one you just did not know how good it was. While Bode Miller, another on the comeback trail starting number 2, took an early lead on the top sections, he lost sight of a gate in the middle section and had to check his line and this meant he was playing catch up after this; his lead evaporated.
From a start of number 5, Peter Fill, still living on the joy of having been on the podium in the downhill the day before, put in another great clean and fast run. Fill pushed the Swiss out of the Leaders enclosure and started making himself comfortable as racer after racer posted faster split times at the top but would then run into problems and not be able to live with the clean line he had held lower down.
While Werner Heel went close, three tenths behind his fellow Italian, Fill was still in the lead. Next down was Beat Feuz and the Swiss star is looking better and better with each race run. While he toyed with Fill’s splits, by the end of the run, Fill still held the lead and Feuz was down in 8th. The race already had a feel of being a long drawn out affair and hard on the nerves for those in the finish.
Kjetil Jansrud is another of the racers making a comeback after injury and although he was making small mistakes, he was fast and the Norwegian took a different line, higher, through the mid section where the slope fell away from the racers, a mistake just after there saw his chances go.
Hannes Reichelt has had a great trip to Beaver Creek with his second in the Downhill. It was looking as though he would dish out some more heartache to Fill but when he found himself sitting in the back seat off the Red Tail jump at the bottom, the good work that he had down up above was all done and when he crossed the line, although he had a green light, it was joint with the Italian. Would we have another tied victory for Reichelt after his win in the Bormio downhill last season?
With a who’s who of Super G racing to follow him, this felt likely but when Streitberger, Ligety, Marsaglia and Theaux all failed to better the pairs time, the feeling was getting stronger. Going 21 though was Mr Super G: the man who had won all the World Cup Super G’s since this race last year. Only Ted Ligety had beaten him and that was in the World Championships. The top looked imperious and you could feel the script was there for him to win. Then the script got blown away and Svindal made an uncharacteristic mistake that saw his body pulled down in the compression and speed was scrubbed. Although he tried to pull back time, he slotted in to fourth at the finish.
Patrick Kueng is another of the racers coming back from injury; he had bad back problems last season and has since also changed his coaching staff. The result of this and lots of training last spring has seen him take two wins in South America followed up by fifth in the first Super G this season and now a maiden Super G win:Â â€œLast season was very difficult for the whole team,â€ said Kueng. â€œI come back from an injury and at the end of season we changed some trainers. I did a lot of skiing in the spring.Â The (whole Swiss) group is fast in training and we are on the right way. â€¦ I have a really good setup now, I think the best service man.â€
The cheers came all the way along the course and Otmar Streitberger, starting at 45 knew that he had a chance if he attacked:Â â€œWhen I hear that Patrick is in the lead with bib 28 I think, and our trainers tell us how good the snow is. I know I have to risk everything and that the snow is fast. It is amazing. I didnâ€™t believe it.â€ Believe it Otmar – you took second and gave some of the older Austrian racers a wake up call!
The World Cup is back and next up is the GS in Beaver Creek before the racers head back to Europe.
TJ Baldwin finished an improved 50th from a start of 68.