Didier Defago surprise winner of Kitzbuehel SG
KITZBUEHEL, Austria – In a rather surprising turnaround of events, Didier Defago became the winner of the 2014 Kitzbuehel super-G.
This morning weather forced organizers to lower the start, making it a relatively short race and making the differences between racers extremely tight. The best four athletes finished only 0.15 seconds of each other.
Didier Defago achieved his last SG podium in 2008 and last victory in the Bormio DH in 2011 had a dream run today. Despite all predictions on the outcome of today’s race, the Swiss veteran clocked the fastest time of the day, finishing only 0.05 seconds ahead of Bode Miller who was leading until that moment. Tied in third place today were Aksel Lund Svindal and Max Franz who were just 0.15 seconds slower than Defago.
Upon crossing the finish line and seeing the green light, Defago screamed out from the top of his lungs.
“When you push so hard in your run, you cross the finish line and you have this something inside that needs to go out. It’s a great feeling… it must be all the energy I collected over the months that need to go out. I was not sure my run would be fast enough to win until the very end of the race but when I came down and I saw that I beat Bode and Aksel I knew I had a good run,” Defago said.
Bode has achieved four podiums in speed disciplines in Kitzbuehel but never a victory. His only victories at the Hahnenkamm Rennen came in 2004 and 2008 in the Combined.
“I was okay today. It was obviously disappointing not to win; five hundredths is not very much time. Just give me a break and let me win one time here. I’m okay with it. I skied hard today and just got beat,” Miller said.
Miller didn’t seem to be too disappointed by the shortened course.
“It was pretty basic. Ski racing is all about making due with what you get with weather. This super-G here didn’t give us a lot of chances to make up time. I skied really well but couldn’t do anything else,” he explained.
Aksel was fresh off his second place in yesterday’s downhill was happy with his result today.
“Third is ok, of course I would have wanted to get ahead but I’ll take it. It was a short course and margins were very small. It’s a lot better than cancelling the race. I’m feeling good and want to keep this momentum going,” Svindal said.
Max Franz was thrilled about his result, achieving his second careers’ podium at one of the big Classics.
“It was a good run, but Bode and Defago were just amazing. It’s a great result to have the day before the Olympic team is nominated in Vienna. It was hard to be fast today, you had to push and I am happy I did just that,” Franz said.
The day is far from over in Kitzbuehel as the morning SG time will be added to tonight’s SL to count for the Hahnenkamm Combined. Action starts at 18.00 CET!