The cheer when they announced that the race would go ahead was heart warming; the groan when the race was cancelled could have been heard down in the valley. FIS tried everything to get the race to happen but in the end the … fog and mist that covered the course was the winner. With the race having already been moved from Garmisch Partenkirchen due to lack of snow, the fact that St Moritz was deluged with snow was rather ironic. Had this been any other weekend, there was a possibility of the race being moved to Monday but with all the speed racers heading to Sochi for the Olympics on Sunday, there was no chance for the race to be rescheduled in this block.
The race was due to start at 11.45am so that the girls Giant Slalom that had been moved to Kranjska Gora could be accommodated. With Kranjska Gora also having been heavily dumped on and the race cancelled, there was not so much immediate urgency to get the race going. With CHF1.2 million having been spent on making it possible to have the race, every avenue was explored.
Already the expense of setting up the special start at the top of the course (Freefall) had gone to waste due to the conditions for training. With the World Championships coming back to St Moritz in 2017, this section will be a great advert for ski racing but for this World Cup race, it was an expense that the weather had not allowed to be utilised.
Jan Hudec came down earlier than most, just so that he could keep moving and see his back specialist, and he said that the course was in great shape and with the aggressive snow, the course was in great shape, especially with the all the paint showing the racers the way.
Sunday will see the Giant Slalom take place and as yet there is no news on where this Downhill will be rescheduled for. With Kvitfjell after the Olympics the only regular season Downhill left on the programme before the World Cup Finals, this seams to be the only option available.
Max Franz won the one training run that did happen ahead of Bode Miller and Matthias Mayer. Dougie Crawford finished 56th in the training run. The men’s Downhill this season has been strange with all the races since Val Gardena in December having been tampered with: Bormio and Wengen had their starts lowered and Kitzbuehel missed out the Hausberg section.
So where does this leave the World Cup standings? It puts Marcel Hirscher back in the driving seat in the short term despite Svindal leading the standings at the moment. If Hirscher can score big in the Giant Slalom, pressure will be back on Svindal after the Olympics. The lead going into the Giant Slalom in St Moritz is 22 points in Svindal’s favour. If Ted Ligety can get back to winning ways he will be doing his Head teammate a favour! It will be all to play for.
In the race for the Women’s Overall, Maria Hoefl-Riesch will be looking to make maximum benefit in the Slalom in the race for the Overall as none of her rivals in the Overall will race in the Slalom. Hoefl-Riesch currently leads the Women’s Overall by 128 points from Tina Weirather. Tina Maze in fifth place is the best placed slalom racer just ahead of Mikaela Shiffrin but both are over 300 points behind in the race for the Overall.