Adrien Theaux sets the pace of the last Downhill training in Lake Louise

25 November 2011 20:56

LAKE LOUISE, Canada- Friday was the second and last day of Downhill training in Lake Louise for the men.  The weather was all but stable, varying from light to rather intense snowfall, with a mostly overcast sky and with some rather intense wind in the top section; it sure put a challenge in front of the athletes. In case the fog and wind on top would have created too much trouble, organizers prepared an alternative start point a little further down the track, luckily weather stayed just stable enough for the training to be held from the original starting point.

Stable as in- stable enough for the whole training to go through without interruption, but it sure offered some very different conditions from athlete to athlete.

Adrien Theaux proved once again that no matter what the conditions are, he adapts perfectly. After finishing just behind Romed Baumann on Thursday’s training, today he was able to push it one step further, he was the fastest man on the course. Finishing his run in 1 minute 50.25 seconds, Theaux skied .07 seconds faster then second ranked Erik Guay of Canada, the current Downhill World Champion. Swedish speed skier Hans Olsson showed some good gliding skills today, getting in third place, .42 behind the leader.

We saw some rather unusual results in today’s training, and weather might have had something to do with it.

“I was pretty lucky during my run, some wind was there but in general it felt ok, I was able to put down a good run, I am happy with it,” said fourth ranked Joachim Puchner from Austria.

He was for sure luckier than his compatriot Klaus Kroell, who walked home with the third best time of the first training, but had to settle for a 26th place today.

“I was standing in the start gate, waiting for my turn and watching Kroell who started in front of me, a few seconds into his run he got caught in some wind and it looked like he disappeared for a moment,” said Christof Innerhofer.

“I was having troubles yesterday already, and even though the course today was in much better condition, I never skied such a soft downhill and have a hard time getting my skis to react the way I want them to, and the poor visibility and wind don’t really help ” added the Italian skier.

Even though when you put Downhill and Norway in the same sentence, you would expect to see Aksel Lund Svindal’s name as well, it was giant slalom specialist Kjetil Jansrud who put down an excellent run, finishing in 17th place.

“Not only was I not bad today, I am actually really happy with my run,” Jansrud said after crossing the finish line on today’s training.

After demonstrating he could do really well no matter how high his start number is, Max Franz from Austria impressed once again today. With bib 45, he crossed the finish line in 5th  position, being one of the four Austrians to reach the top 10 in today’s training run. He was not the only on from the team to move forward a lot, Manuel Kramer went from bib 40 to 11th place while Johannes Kroell moved down 35 places, going from bib 47 to 12th place.

A few other surprising names in the top 15 include Travis Ganong from America, in 8th place, just .81 behind the leader Theaux, and Hannes Reichelt who skied into 9th place with bib 48.

Due to the unstable conditions during today’s training, it’s really hard to anticipate tomorrow’s results. But, judging on the two disputed training runs, it seems like Theaux and the Austrians feel really confident in Lake Louise this year.

For the complete results of today's run, check this link.


by Ana Jelusic