It looked like it was going to be the day that Anna Fenninger secured her first World Cup Downhill win. From bib number 21, the attractive Austrian had posted the fastest time and then saw Tina Maze post … a slower time than hers. It was nail biting stuff. Yet when Andrea Fischbacher stormed in from bib 29 to take her first win, indeed her first podium in four years, since she won the Olympic Super G title in Whistler, you could forgive her for looking as though she had a look of here we go again! Altenmarkt in January had seen Lizz Goergl do the same to her!
Fenninger is a true sportswoman and rushed over to congratulate Fischbacher as she collapsed in the finish area in disbelief. This was all about Fischbacher coming back from injury and getting back on the winners podium; this was all about the Austrian Girls Team Unity and nothing more. It was great to see.
Crans Montana 2014 had been a little bit of a nightmare for the racers. One training run on Thursday and then the weather came in. Lara Gut posted the fastest time and then Friday saw the training cancelled, Saturday saw the race cancelled without a ski racer hitting the new course. Sunday was supposed to have been the Super Combined but with no Globe to be decided on the Super Combined, it was decided that the Downhill was more important.
Maria Hoefl-Riesch; Marianne Kaufmann-Abderhalden, Anna Fenninger and Tina Maze all were still in with a chance to win the Globe and all went one after another in the top seeds. Johanna Schnarf from Italy crashed out from bib 1 at the compression and then Niki Hosp almost sat on her backside a couple of turns higher up: This was only the second time the racers had been down the new Crans Montana piste. It is a gnarly course: It twists and turns and has loads of terrain. It is a real racers course for the girls.
Lizz Goergl was the first to really master it and then when Fenninger made it look easier, Maze knew she had to go faster if she was to stay in the Downhill Globe hunt. Hoefl-Riesch admitted that she had been too passive and although she still had the lead in the points accrued through the season with one race to go, it is possible for Fenninger, the only one left in the race for the Globe, to over take her. For Kaufmann-Abderhalden and Maze there is next season now.
Fenninger has stepped up to the mark this season and while she trails Hoefl-Riesch by 80 points in Downhill and 157 in the Overall, she is on a roll. Wins in Giant Slalom and Super G this season as well as the Gold in the Super G and Silver in the Giant Slalom from Sochi means the pressure is off.
The girls go to Are in Sweden for a double GS and Slalom starting on Thursday before heading back to Lenzerheide for the Finals. It is all to play for.
After her heroics in Sochi, there was sad news for Chemmy Alcott in the downhill: Chemmy crashed and posted on Twitter after the race the following: “Crashed pretty hard today in downhill. Always a scary experience especially for someone with a metal leg. Managed to ski down. Reasses later”. We wish her the speediest of recoveries.
If you fancy checking the race piste out then why not get along to the City Ski Championships that will be happening in Crans Montana in a couple of weeks time!
Picture credit Zoom Agence