World Cup racing | Ganong, Sullivan fare well in Kvitfjell downhill
KVITFJELL, Norway — Squaw Valley skier Travis Ganong shook off the pain of a hyperextended knee to record the top U.S. finish, in sixth, in the Kvitfjell, Norway, downhill on Saturday.
“It was really, really sore last night,” Ganong said of his right knee, which he injured in training. “I woke up this morning and was really sore and was a little worried. But I got some treatment and got some Ibuprofen and taping. It still hurt today, but I was able to ski through it.”
Another Squaw Valley skier, Marco Sullivan, continued his recent string of quality results by finishing in a three-way tie with Andrew Weibrecht and Austrian Vincent Kreichmayr for 12th.
As his teammates have been saying for the last couple of weeks, Sullivan has figured something out in his skiing.
“Personally, I wish [the season] would keep going,” Sullivan said. “I’m just heating up. I’ve had some good results the past three weeks. For some reason this year, I don’t want it to end.”
In what was the penultimate Audi FIS Ski World Cup downhill of the season, conditions were strange, with fog and high winds rolling through the sunny morning in Norway causing the start to be lowered to the super G start. It’s a low-altitude resort — the base is about 600 feet above sea level — and the snow warmed up quickly.
The track, slick and fast at the top, quickly degraded as the racers made their way down the hill. But even with the varying conditions and lowered start, racers were still hitting 90 mph at the bottom of the course.
Hannes Reichelt of Austria nailed the line to finish 30 seconds ahead of the pack. Canadian Manuel Osborne-Paradis surprised the crowd and took second place — his only podium and top-10 result since Lake Louise at the beginning of the season. Werner Heel of Italy was third.
Jared Goldberg was 15th, just a tenth behind Sullivan and Weibrecht for his best result in a World Cup downhill this season.
Steven Nyman was the favored American skier after winning Friday’s training run, but the lowered start did not favor the classic downhiller. Nyman got caught up in the soft snow at the bottom and finished in 25th. Wiley Maple was just out of the points in 31st and Bryce Bennett of Squaw Valley was 50th.
Tough super G
Sunday was a tough day in Kvitfjell, with 21 DNFs in the super G, with only 38 racers making it down the difficult course.
Weibrecht tied his career-best super G result in fifth place, while Kjetil Jansrud of Norway was back to his dominating form, winning the race. Kriechmayr of Austria took second and Dustin Cook of Canada was third.
Goldberg was the second American finisher in 23rd, Ganong was 24th and Sullivan 26th. Both Nyman and Bennett were caught up in the soft snow and skied out.
GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany — Sunday was a perfect day for Lindsey Vonn, who put down a flawless run to take the win and the overall super G World Cup lead in Germany.
With no mistakes, Tina Maze slayed the course that her Slovenian coach set, and pulled out a time that everyone thought was unbeatable. But Vonn’s coaches radioed up to her, telling her to “send it,” and she did just that. Building speed throughout the course, Vonn crushed her run and took the win over Maze by .20. Anna Fenninger of Austria was third.
Fenninger was leading the super G standings into Sunday, but her third-place result wasn’t enough to hold it. Vonn was able to usurp the title going into the World Cup Finals and hopes to hold it for the globe.
“It’s going to be a close fight in downhill and super G,” said Vonn, who is attempting to win her fifth super G title. “I have to really ski my best in the finals in Meribel and hopefully I can get two titles.”
Laurenne Ross was the second American finisher in 14th place. Truckee native Stacey Cook was ahead in each split, but got late in the tricky midsection of the course and skied out.
Just out of the points, Alice McKennis finished 32nd, Jackie Wiles 34th, Abby Ghent 38th and Julia Ford 41st. Julia Mancuso of Squaw Valley was sick and did not start.