Schladming Downhill Ski Race Details, 14-03-2012
Austrian Klaus Kroell captured his first ever Downhill title on home snow, with a nerve-racking final downhill of the season
Having overtaken Didier Cuche and Beat Feuz in the final few races, Kroell looked like he had the title wrapped up as
Didier Cuche endured a nightmare final-ever downhill run having started in bib 18, to finish way back 2 and half seconds behind
then leader Aksel Lund Svindal.
Kroell came down two racers later but had a nervy run himself, moving into sixth place, 1.04 seconds behind Svindal, and suddenly
leaving the championship door wide open for the next racer, Beat Feuz.
Victory for Feuz would catapult the Swiss racer to the top of the standings, however, try as he might, the 24 year old
could just get close enough to Svindal's superb run, and even though he went into 2nd place, he was
still 0.57 seconds behind the Norwegian. It wasn't over yet though, as Kroell had to sit back and watch the remaining 3 racers come down,
knowing that if one of them finished above him it would knock his points down and Feuz could still claim the title.
Erik Guay and Peter Fill both came down without really looking like challenging the top 10, but Norwegian
Kjetil Jansrud, who'd finished in 2nd place at Kvitfjell, came flying down and looked like he might do something similar. With
Kroell and the home fans watching on in horror as it looked like he might be denied by the final racer of the season,
Jansrud crashed out and the crystal globe was back in the hands of the big Austrian.
An exciting end to a great season, where the title has swung between Kroell, Cuche and Feuz throughout the winter.
Chamonix Downhill Ski Race Details, 04-02-2012
A great day for the Canadians saw Jan Hudec claim victory on La Verte Des Houches slope at Chamonix, with fellow countryman Erik Guay taking third, whilst Benjamin Thomsen caused more uproar by claiming 5th from a start number of 50. So first, third and fifth for the flying Canadians.
Andre Sporn had taken the early lead, starting from 8th position, he clocked 2 minutes 04.53 seconds. Frenchman Adrien Theaux was just three-hundredths of a second behind when he came down a couple of racers later.
There was more to cheer for the home fans as Johan Clarey narrowly took the lead by 0.04 seconds before the block of top seeds started to come down from start numbers 16 to 22. Clarey's lead didn't last long, as Swiss veteran Didier Cuche was soon showing off his helicopter-ski celebration as he took the lead by 0.13 seconds. The lead was swapping hands all over the place as Beat Feuz returned to form by smashing Cuche's time by 0.36 seconds to take the lead, a great effort following some disappointing recent downhill results.
Klaus Kroell was aiming for a downhill-double following his victory the previous day, but just failed to top Feuz's time, but probably more importantly in the race for the title, he squeezed in just before Cuche to gain some vital points on his Swiss rival.
Erik Guay was next up and the Canadian World Champion, surprisingly looking for only his 2nd
downhill world cup victory, took the lead with a flying run. It was a ding-dong competition now as the lead swapped again, with Romed Baumann of Austria now going into the lead. When Bode Miller lined up to come down after Baumann, it was half-expected that he would grab first place, but the American slowed down slightly on the lower section and came home in sixth place.
But there was one more twist as Jan Hudec claimed first place, four years after his last downhill victory at Lake Louise, the Canadian a massive 0.53 ahead of Baumann.
And whilst Benjamin Thomsen didn't quite look like he was going to knock Hudec
off his perch, it was still a remarkable achievement for the 24 year old.
In the race for the downhill championship, the top 3 standings stayed as they were, with Romed Baumann the big mover
up to 5th place, just behind Miller, but with just 3 races remaining it's still incredibly tight and too close to call.
Chamonix Downhill Ski Race Details, 03-02-2012
Klaus Kroell handed the Austrians their first downhill victory of the season with victory on the
the first of two back-to-back downhill races at Chamonix following the re-scheduling of the Val
Gardena downhill from just before the new year.
Start positions 16 to 20 were key, as all 5 racers in these bibs occupied the top 5 positions,
with hardly anything between them in an incredibly close race. Erik Guay had been the first of
the in form skiers to come down in 16th position, and his time of 2 minute 4.30 seconds was 0.09
seconds faster than Jan Hudec's, who had been in top place since coming down as the fourth
racer. Klaus Kroell came down after Guay and was eight hundredths faster, whilst Bode Miller was
next down and missed out on the lead by just a hundredth of a second. Romed Baumann was next up
and clocked exactly the same time as Guay, and finally the World Cup downhill leader Didier
Cuche came in just 0.04 behind Kroell to land the final podium place.
The result meant Cuche retained his championship lead, whilst Kroell moved up to second place
and Beat Feuz dropped back to third.
Garmisch-Partenkirchen Kandahar Downhill Ski Race Details, 28-01-2012
For the 2nd weekend in a row the starting point of the downhill course had to be lowered down the hill because of the weather.
After the snowstorm that had affected the Hahnenkamm the previous week, it was the turn of thick fog to cause disruption on the
Kandahar at Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
Didier Cuche took advantage and held his nerve for the 2 weekend in a row, seeing off the challenge of Candian Erik Guay who
had beaten the Swiss racer to gold when the world championships were held here just under a year ago.
Austrian Hannes Reichelt continued his fine downhill season by finishing 3rd, just three-hundredths of a second
behind behind Guay and three-tenths of a second behind Cuche.
Christof Innerhofer, who had also claimed bronze here at the World Championships, also showed that the course favoured him by finishing 4th.
The big losers of the weekend were Beat Feuz and Bode Miller. Feuz, 2nd in the standings before the race,
started just two racers before Cuche but was 1.10 seconds behind his veteran rival and was way back in 23rd place.
Miller's weekend started bad and just got worse. He was 3 minutes late for the bib draw on the Friday night, and as such
received both a 999 CHF fine and a shift in his race slot to number 46, rather than the 16th starting position that he should have gone from. Whether this was all playing on his mind no-one was told, as the American left the finish area almost immediately without comment after carding only the 35th fastest time, a real shame after some of his fine performances in the early part of the season.
The win meant Cuche and Feuz swapped places in the championship race, with the Swiss veteran now in the driving seat
as he looks to retain his downhill crystal globe, whilst the other big mover was Austrian Hannes Reichelt who moved into
4th position in the standings, only 32 points behind compatriot Klaus Kroell.
Kitzbuhel Hahnenkamm Downhill Ski Race Details, 21-01-2012
The 72nd running of the Hannenkamm races saw
claim a record-breaking 5th victory on a cut-down course, with the top section having to be removed because of the extreme
weather conditions that were affecting Kitzbuhel and many parts of Austria - namely too much fresh snow and poor visibility on
the higher sections.
With Arnold Schwarzenegger watching on as guest of honour
the event was effectively a downhill sprint, with nearly half of the course missing, including the classic early jumps
and the infamous Mausefalle and Steilhang sections, due to the lowering of the course.
Austrian youngster Joachim Puchner got the fanatical home crowd into high spirits as he took a great early lead.
Frenchman Johan Clarey, coming down 8th was just 0.04 behind, just losing a potential competition-leading run on the last jump.
Puchner held the lead right up to the 16th racer, and current downhill leader Beat Feuz. Feuz was behind by half a second to
start with and was in all sorts of trouble coming off one of the jumps but some how pulled it round and was only nine
hundredths of a second behind Puchner by the time he crossed the line.
With the snow still bucketing it down conditions were horrendous for the skiers, with poor visibility a major factor.
Bode Miller was never really in contention but did pull off one of the most incredible recoveries ever seen - losing an edge
and with his ski totally rotated he managed to keep going and correct it before the other ski slipped out and again he managed
to correct it and get back on track. A fantastic recovery but Bode was never on the pace because if the time he lost there.
Next up was Didier Cuche, the 37 year old Swiss skier's last time in the race and looking to break the record as the first man
to win the Hannenkamm five times. And a totally focused Cuche flew down the course, and into the lead by three-tenths of a
second. The earlier disappointment of the race having to be shortened was now completely unfounded as it was an incredibly
exciting race. And it was about to get even more so, as the two following Austrians, Klaus Kroell and Romed Baumann both came
within a whisker of taking first spot, but Cuche held on.
Canadian Jan Hudec, at 30 years of age one of the oldest Hannekamm rookie's, looked like he was about to cause a massive upset
but was leaning back on the final jump and, looking almost like a ski jumper, lost vital tenths of a second and Cuche survived
again. As the remaining top 30 skiers ticked down it was left to Andrei Sporn to provide the last real danger to Cuche - and
danger it was too, with Sporn leading at all the intermediate timings but as with so many others he just lost time on the last
quarter of the course.
So Cuche capped a strange day by making history in becoming the first racer to win the Hannenkamm five times, an incredible
feat that may not be broken in our lifetime.
Hats off to Franz Klammer for having the class and good grace to stand in the finish area and applaud Cuche as his record was
broken, and hats off to all the skiers on the day for making it such an exciting race in such testing and dangerous conditions.
Wengen Lauberhorn Downhill Ski Race Details, 14-01-2012
Fantastic sunny weather, an exciting race, and forty thousand Swiss fans screaming on a home win, made for a fantastic
82nd running of the Lauberhorn downhill race at the classic Swiss resort of Wengen.
1st out of the blocks came Austrian skier Hannes Reichelt who'd set the fastest time during Friday's training run.
His time of 2 minutes 35.75 seconds looked fast in comparison to the training times, and so it proved to be
as the following set of skiers failed to get anywhere near it. The only skier out of the first ten to come down to look like challenging it was Carlo Janka. The Swiss skier, who has suffered from back injuries in the last year, showed
signs of a return to form as he came in just 0.15 seconds behind Reichelt, whilst six skiers later Italian
racer Christof Innerhofer got even closer - just 5 hundredths of a second behind.
The Austrian held 1st place until bib 16 came down - the new Swiss sensation Beat Feuz. The 24 year old from
Schangnau came flying down the Lauberhorn in 2 minutes 35.31, an incredible 0.44 seconds faster than Reichelt.
Immediately after Feuz came Didier Cuche, and despite winning the overall downhill title four times, the Swiss legend was still looking for his first victory here, and whilst every Swiss race fan and every neutral would love to see the likeable 37 year old claim victory here it just wasn't to be. His was always behind the time of Feuz and could never claim any time back, eventually finishing nearly 1 and a half seconds behind.
Last years Lauberhorn champion Klaus Kroell was flying down soon after, he had a fine run but couldn't match last year's feat, although his time of 2:36.20 was extremely respectable and put him into fifth place at the time, and 6th by the end of the race. The 2009 champion Dider Defago and Norwegian star Aksel Lund Svindal were soon following, but neither of them troubled
the top 10, let alone Feuz, so it was down to Bode Miller as the last real challenge, and it was hearts-in-mouths time for Feuz and the masses of Swiss fans lining the course as the American hurtled down the slope, with the split times see-sawing between just ahead and just behind. Just as it looked like Bode might claim his 3rd Lauberhorn victory following back to back victories in 2007 and 2008, disaster struck and he lost half a second with a mistake right at the final section of the race that saw him end up in 5th place, 0.77 seconds behind, a shame as his run had deserved at least a place on the podium.
Just as it looked like Feuz could sit back and relax their was one more potential shock on the cards, as another Swiss youngster Marc Gisin literally flew down the first half of the course and was ahead just before the halfway mark only to lose an edge and nearly crash out. He somehow managed to get back on track and incredibly claw some time back despite the error but the final energy-sapping sections would cost him his chance and he eventually finished back in 11th, but it was a fitting finale to a fantastically entertaining race.
The result extended Feuz's lead at the top of the downhill standings, ahead of Miller and Kroell, with Hannes Reichelt the big mover - up
to 4th in the standings.
Beaver Creek Downhill Ski Race Details, 02-12-2011
American veteran Bode Miller rolled back the years to send the home crowd into raptures on the Birds of Prey course.
It was his third victory at Beaver Creek, and probably his most satisfying, as he aggressively attacked one of the
ski circuit's most difficult downhill courses, charging every turn, risking everything and not compromising at any point.
It was Miler's 1st downhill win for 3 years.
Klaus Kroell also raced fantastically, the Austrian flying down the 2nd half of the course to finish only 0.14 seconds behind Miller.
Switzerland's rising star Beat Feuz came down immediately after Kroell and repeated the Austrans run, losing time on the top half
before charging through the bottom section, and the 24 year old followed up his 2nd place at Lake Louise the previous week with
another, just 0.04 seconds back, and this was enough to take him to the top of the Downhill standings. Frenchman Johan Clarey
finished 4th, whilst Nowegian Aksel Lund Svindal continued his fine start to the season in all disciplines by taking 5th spot.
Sole British racer TJ Baldwin finished in 64th position in a time of 1:49.27
Lake Louise Downhill Ski Race Details, 26-11-2011
The Swiss and Austrians dominated the opening downhill of the season at Lake Louise, with their skiers filling the top 5 places.
Reigning World Cup downhill champion Didier Cuche took victory with a time of 1 minute, 47.28 seconds, beating his
young team-mate Beat Feuz - but only just ! A time difference of only .06 seconds separating the Swiss pair.
Their was a shock podium position for Austrian Hannes Reichelt, who came down the course much later on with bib number 45 but literally flew down
and was only 0.02 seconds behind Feuz, knocking fellow countryman Romed Baumann back to fourth. Cuche, Baumann and Feuz had come down one after each other
in positions 17, 18 and 19, and it was obviously a good time to race as Klaus Kroell, wearing bib number 22 completed the top 5, just under half a second
behind Cuche's winning time. Of the other big names, Bode Miller finished a respectable 9th and Aksel Lund Svindal was 14th, whilst British racer Dougie Crawford
was back in 65th.