Guay fastest in second DH training in Garmisch-Partenkirchen

27 January 2012 13:37
Agence Zoom
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GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany—Erik Guay is skiing fast. The 2011 Downhill World Champion, who won on this very track, is paving the way for Saturday's downhill.

With a time of 1 minute, 57.08 seconds, he bested Adrien Theaux by 0.07 in second, and Didier Cuche by 0.37 in third. Thursday's fastest skier, Hannes Reichelt, finished tied for fourth with Andrej Sporn.

Guay is looking for his first win of the season—his best result was fourth in the Bormio downhill. In every downhill race except Beaver Creek and Kitzbuhel, he has been in the top 10, and is looking forward to doing well at Saturday's downhill. “I'm consistent from my training runs to the race day and that's really what you want,” he said on Thursday. “I'm happy with the way things are progressing.”

After his run today, he said: “It's a day early though, I wish this performance was tomorrow but I'll see what I can do then.”

Unlike the 2011 World Championship course here, the track is set as the “old” men's downhill course which the athletes haven't skied on for five years. In 2007, Erik Guay won on that course and is the Downhill World Champion on the new course. He has won on both.

When asked why he loves this track and has great success, he said he's not entirely sure why.

Why this course? I have no idea why this course particularly suits me,” he said. “I think it's probably due to the fact that I had good results the first time I ever came seems like I'm confident every time I come back so I'm happy to be competitive in the training runs and see what happens tomorrow.”

The racers were overall pleased with the course preparation today, after being critical of Thursday's track that they said was all-sorts of variable from powder to balls of ice. 

It's a little firmer, looks like they did some work to try to get it smooth,” Guay said. “It's a lot better than it was yesterday for sure. It's a lot firmer underfoot, there's no soft patches anymore. They did a good job at slipping wide in case you do take that wider line. I just expect it to be even better tomorrow and it should be race-condition ready.”

But Guay actually prefers a tougher Kandahar track. “Garmish is always a pretty tough one,” he said after Thursday's downhill training. “I'm happy that's it's rough though, makes it challenging.”

Today he added: “It's not bad, wish they left it a little rougher.”

The athletes said that today's overcast conditions also made it more consistent for visibility versus Thursday's blue skies, where the sun cast shadows on the 3-kilometer Kandahar course.

Dominik Paris, who finished 15th today, said the conditions were better than Thursday, but still soft due to last weekend's fresh snowfall. “It's a little bit soft in the middle section,” he said, “but underneath it's hard, so I hope with slippers tomorrow it will be better.”

The forecast is calling for light snowfall for Saturday's downhill, so officials are prepared to lower the start if necessary. The FIS Technical Delegate Edi Dreschl said, “We are preparing for all options.”

Saturday's downhill is scheduled for 12:00 p.m.

Click here for training results 

By Vanessa Pierce