Marco Sullivan sixth in Kandahar downhill | SierraSun.com

Marco Sullivan sixth in Kandahar downhill

Staff and U.S. Ski Team report

Squaw Valley skier Marco Sullivan, shown in a past race, led the U.S. team with a sixth-place finish in the Kandahar downhill in Germany on Saturday.

GARMISCH, Germany — Squaw Valley skier Marco Sullivan fought thick fog and a more than two-hour delay to lead the U.S. team with a sixth-place finish in a shortened Kandahar downhill in Garmisch, Germany, on Saturday.

Austrians dominated the day, with Hannes Reichelt winning the race, Romed Baumann placing second and Matthias Mayer third. It was the second Austrian downhill podium sweep in a row, with Mayer, Max Franz and Reichelt taking first, second and third in Saalbach.

Even after hours of delays, the snow was fairly consistent — with 140 volunteers working Friday night until 10 p.m. and starting again at 4 a.m. But because of the light conditions, the track was shortened, beginning at the super G start, which did not suit the classic downhillers usually favored on the Garmisch hill.

The shortened course didn't seem to faze Sullivan, although he said going from the super G start "kind of neuters the race a little bit." Starting 23rd, Sullivan attacked the whole way down. It was his best result since placing fifth in Lake Louise in November.

"The race was so tight. I think a tenth — one way or the other — would have cost me five places," said Sullivan. "It's crazy. It was go-for-broke. Luckily, I skied it pretty cleanly, didn't have any big mistakes and had a good result.

Steven Nyman, who was fourth in the training run, looked for speed throughout his run, but was bucked around on the tricky, shortened course and took 17th. Squaw Valley skier Travis Ganong finished 22nd, behind a three-way tie for 19th, while Andrew Weibrecht was 33rd and Wiley Maple 45th.

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Garmisch first-timers Jared Goldberg and Bryce Bennett, also from Squaw Valley, were 36th and 48th, respectively.

Despite being sick, Ganong led the U.S. team with a ninth-place finish in a super G in Saalbach-Hinterglemm, Austria, the previous week.

Jitloff 10th in GS

On Sunday, Austria's Marcel Hirscher posted a 1.99-second first run before charging to a 3.28-second win in the giant slalom. Ted Ligety led the American contingent in fourth, while Truckee's Tim Jitloff, who was sick, pulled out the second-fastest second run to place 10th.

Tommy Ford was still in the points after a small bobble on his second run put him in 23rd.

The course was tough in the morning, with guys struggling to find speed out of the snow. But Hirscher was able to figure it out, and the normally competitive Ligety did nothing but praise Hirscher's skiing.

"That was impressive," Ligety said. "He was able to put on a massive margin on us and that second run he skied awesome. Impressive piece of skiing, that's for sure."

The win gave Hirscher a 188-point lead over Ligety in the World Cup GS standings with only two events remaining.

Vonn podiums in super G

Lindsey Vonn placed third, Julia Mancuso of Squaw Valley was 16th and Stacey Cook of Truckee 21st in a technically set super G in Bansko, Bulgaria, on Monday.

Podium regulars Anna Fenninger of Austria and Tina Maze of Slovenia went one-two — identical results to Sunday's combined — while American Laurenne Ross was 22nd. Alice McKennis was 47th and Abby Ghent 48th. Jackie Wiles DNFed.