Miller far ahead in Kitzbuehel training
KITZBUEHEL, Austria – It has been a tough week for the Organizer in Kitzbuehel as warm temperatures and rain threatened the famous Hahnenkamm race. But this the weather finally improved just enough for the downhill training to take place. It might have not been the classic Kitz downhill everyone is used on seeing as de to the critical conditions on the Hausbergkante a decision had been made in the morning to run the training on the detour version of it, called Hinter Ganslern.
The last time a downhill race in Kitbuehel was held on this variation of the course was in 1998 when Didier Cuche earned his first World Cup victory by winning the Sprint downhill race (consisting of two DH runs) which took place that year. Before that, the same course was raced on in 1972 and Austrian Karl Schranz won the race.
But today, Bode Miller was the man to beat today as he crushed the rest of the field by a substantial margin. The closest skier to Miller’s time was Aksel Lund Svindal who finished 0.96 seconds off the American’s pace while third ranked Hannes Reichelt was already 2.35 seconds behind.
The American didn’t seem to mind the new course layout.
“It’s something we don’t see so often, coming from a road into a turn like the one here and it’s challenging. There is no question it’s still difficult, it might not be the Hausberg but it’s a different set of skills you have to test here and it’s cool that no one skis this slope so it’s even for everybody,” he said about the variation.
But when asked where he earned all that time, Miller seemed to have a simple explanation to what was far from simple to achieve.
“I think I just trimmed the line on the other guys,” Miller explained his big lead.
“I have run this course enough times and I knew that in these conditions there were places where you could bring the line in and eliminate some distance. Also this helps avoid being bounced around in some turns. That made a huge difference and I think I had fast skis too. On this slope you can’t do much if your skis are not running, as after the first 30 seconds there is a lot of “base on the snow”. My technician and me have been preparing for this race all year, he knows how to win here and I have put a lot of energy into being ready,” he continued.
Despite the disappointment of having the leave out one of the most thrilling sections of the Streif out, holding today’s training run was critical to the successful continuation of this week’s program (the updated version can be found here), and it sure didn’t lack in excitement.