The Austrian’s Kitzbühel triumph

Austrian Vincent Kriechmayr triumphed on home soil, earning his first win of the season.

Photo credits: Eurosport & Getty Images

By Daphne Seberich

The tables have turned for Vincent Kriechmayr. Sunday’s bad luck, as a gate fell right on the binding of his skis as he was riding the snow downhill at 130 km/h, was soon forgotten. The Austrian raced to his first Super G FIS Alpine Ski World Cup win of the 2020/2021 season on Monday with a blistering run in Kitzbühel.

The Åre Ski World Championships Super G bronze medalist clocked a time of 1:12.58 on home snow, which was also enough to move him on top of the discipline’s standings after a second place in Bormio back in December.

“Today I had a really good race. I’m really proud of my skiing.” 29-year-old Kriechmayr told FIS. “Last year I missed the Crystal Globe by three points, now I just want to ski my way.”

Photo credits: El Mundo Deportivo

Kriechmayr beat Swiss Marco Odermatt into second place on the Austrian slope. The 23-year-old Swiss skier, a relative newcomer to the speed discipline, finished 0.12 seconds behind the winner, earning his fourth podium of the season.

Another Austrian and double Olympic gold medalist Matthias Mayer, bagged his third podium of the Kitzbühel race weekend, completing the podium to go with second and third-place finishes in Friday and Sunday’s downhills. The Super G specialist equals legend Aksel Lund Svindal for podium finishes on the Hahnenkamm.

The icy Kitzbühel Super G took place on the Streif-Alm. Every year the best skiers on earth compete to win the coveted chamois trophy, the symbol of Kitzbühel. The layout of this Super G was very direct and straight. Mistakes were not allowed.

The first athlete to start was Austrian Christian Walder. 1:13.28 was the time to beat. Christof Innerhofer attempted to challenge the benchmark. He had an impressive result at the Sunday Downhill race placing fourth. The South Tyrolean took many risks, which resulted in red intermediates. He fought and had his comeback to cross the finish line with 11 hundredths of a second ahead of the Austrian.

Marco Odermatt’s strong performance on Sunday gave him more confidence approaching the Streif-Alm. He did not disappoint and seemed to feel comfortable on the Austrian slope. Odermatt earned the provisional lead with 0.47 seconds of advantage towards Innerhofer. 

Photo credits: laRegione & Le Matin

Sunday’s runner-up Johan Clarey fought for a back-to-back podium result, but a massive delay of 1.58 seconds from the lead placed him last. Bib number 5 athlete Vincent Kriechmayr, who was misfortunate in the second Hahnenkamm-race, blew everyone out of the water and served 12 hundredths to provisional leader Odermatt. 

Kjetil Jansrud, the winner of the 2020 Kitzbühel Super G, has had a disappointing World Cup weekend. His run ended prematurely, having missed a gate. An 18th and 26th place at the Streif competitions and the latest DNF, made him lose out on crucial points for the standings. 

Second and third-place Hahnenkamm-race winner Matthias Mayer set the bar high when it came to expectations. In 2017 he conquered the Streif-Alm, but this race was not on his usual level. Taking risks on the icy slope was necessary, but making mistakes was not accepted. He only managed to secure a spot on the lowest step of the podium after nine racers. 

Photo credits: Eurosport

Loïc Meillard came racing at the Kitzbühel slope without any training and practice runs and it showed. His time was abysmally apart from the top. 1.41 seconds of delay placed him provisionally in sixth place.

Overall standings leader and technical disciplines specialist Alexis Pinturault had to cope with the same conditions as Meillard. He attempted to race at the Kitzbühel slope without any training and practice runs as well. For the Frenchman, competing in the Super G is necessary to earn points to secure his lead in the rankings. Pinturault just finished behind the Swiss in seventh position. 

Austrian naturalized German skier Romed Baumann has had an incredible weekend on the Streif so far but made too many mistakes during the Monday Super G, only managing to squeeze between Meillard and Pinturault in seventh.

Dominik Paris, the reigning Super G World Champion and winner on the Streif-Alm in 2015 has not had the best start to his run. 84 hundredths of a second delay after the first intermediate ruined his chances of winning. What a disappointment for the South Tyrolean, who had his first seasonal podium on Friday in the first Downhill event.

Photo credits: Saslong

The only remaining athlete who could have potentially challenged Vincent Kriechmayr for the lead was back-to-back Streif winner Beat Feuz. The Blitzkönig chose risky lines in the first part of the track. His delay subsequently increased intermediate by intermediate. A mistake in the final section of the slope ended in a zero-points result for Feuz.

French skier Nils Allegre was part of the most shocking crash of the day. With incredible speed coming into the first jump, Allegre lost control of his body at the landing, crashing into both protective barriers of the track. Fortunately, the airbag system the athletes have prevented the Frenchman to suffer from a serious injury.

Video credits: Eurosport & Infront Sports & Media AG

The surprises of the day were James Crawford and Stefan Babinsky. With bib number 28 and 32 they managed to place better than Super G specialists Walder and Sanders respectively in sixth and seventh place. 

The results of the day give Alexis Pinturault a 200-points lead ahead of second-placed Marco Odermatt in the Overall standings. With now injured Aleksander Aamodt Kilde out of the picture, the battle to the top seems already to be a sealed deal. Can Odermatt bounce back and conquer the Big Crystal Globe?

Photo credits: Getty Images

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