Erik Guay wins downhill training in Beaver Creek

05 December 2013 21:30
Guay leads Beaver Creek training
Guay leads Beaver Creek training -

BEAVER CREEK, USA – After two cancellations, Thursday was finally a lucky day in Beaver Creek. The day of the last possible Audi Birds of Prey downhill training, Colorado resort woke up to a clear blue sky and extremely cold temperatures. The thermometer showed -25 degrees as the Jury made their way down the hybrid Raptor/Birds of Prey course.

Despite the heavy snowfalls of the past few days, Organizers had done a spectacular job by pushing all the snow off the race course, leaving it in perfect conditions for the training. The hard work paid off as all the teams were impressed with the conditions and coaches congratulated the OC with a big round of applause at the end of Jury inspection.

Erik Guay came out on top of the only training run on the Raptor/Birds of Prey hybrid course before tomorrow’s official race. With today being the only chance for the skiers to test the course, it was clear the goal of the day was to get familiar with the course rather than lay down a quick time.

“I was not sure how fast my run would be, but I was pleasantly surprised to see I was leading. I definitely wouldn’t complain if my name stayed on top of the board for tomorrow’s race too! I think that for that I might need to push a bit harder, I think most of us skied a relatively easy run today” Guay said.

Like their coaches in the morning, skiers were very happy with the conditions they found on the course.

“It’s the first time we are skiing this new course and it’s really nice, the jumps are perfect as always here in Beaver Creek. Hats off to those who prepared the course,” Guay added. “With the amount of snowfalls over the last few days, I expected a soft course but I was pleasantly surprised as it was rock hard top to bottom and these guys must really knows what they are doing.”

Last year, Christof Innerhofer got the momentum going for the Italians when he won the downhill ahead of Aksel Lund Svindal and Kjetil Jansrud who finished second and third, but today it wasn't his day to lead the Italian team.

"I was not able to get the speed in the flat sections, I must have lost over one and a half seconds to Guay in those sections, I hope to make up for today's training in tomorrow's race," a slightly disappointed Innerhofer commented on his training run.

Coming in 0.19 seconds behind Guay was Austria’s Florian Scheiber while third place went to Italy’s Peter Fill, who was 0.30 seconds off the pace.

"It’s a really beautiful course but we don’t know it well yet, as this was the first chance we all had to ski on it,” Fill said after his run.  “I know I have done a few mistakes, I didn’t really get the perfect line down so I look forward to watching the video from today’s run and see what I can improve for the race. Overall, I am very happy with how it went today. The Organizers have done a great job, the snow is perfect!”

Austria and Italy looked strong in the training run, placing three skiers each in top-ten. For the Italians, it was a continuation of their impressive performance at the end of last season in the downhill. An Italian skier has won four of five World Cup downhill races in the 2013 calendar year and look poised to continue that trend.

Switzerland’s men looked to be getting back on track after last year’s difficult season. Sandro Viletta finished ninth in the training run, while teammate Didier Defago was tenth. 

Here are today's results and don't forget to tune in for Friday's downhill race, start time is 10:45 LOC / 18:45 CET!