Preview: Kvitfjell Men's downhill and super G
This Week-end the men's tour hits the resort of Kvitfjell - the name means White Mountain - a ski resort in the municipality of Ringebu, in the heart of Norway. The resort hosted both the men and ladies downhill, combined and super g disciplines in the 1994 Lillehammer Winter Olympics and is considered one of the best in the country. The latest round of the FIS World Cup will feature men's downhill and super G competitions.
Once again it is the Austrians who have dominated the men's races in Kvitfjell. Of the 30 Alpine World Cup downhills and super Gs held at this venue, Austrians have won half, with the USA in second place with five wins. Italy is third, having triumphed on four occasions, followed by the host nation, Norway, who has won on three occasions so far. Switzerland, France and Canada have each claimed one victory in Kvitfjell, up till now.
The first race at this venue was held on the 19th of March 1993, which was a downhill event, in the same weekend there was a second downhill race and a super-g race. The weekend was a trial for the Olympics, which were to be held the following year. The World Cup did not stop off in Kvitfjell again until two years later, on the 10th of March 1995. On this occasion two races were held, one downhill and one super G.
The athletes who only raced the speed events at the 2010 Olympics got out of Whistler and Vancouver almost two weeks ago. Some of the Canadian and American skiers went to Aspen to race some NorAms, while the Europeans flew home to start training and possibly take part in some Europa Cup and local FIS races. For the 4 discipline skiers such as Switzerland's Carlo Janka, Norway's Aksel Lund Svindal, America's Bode Miller and Croatia's Ivica Kostelic, the tight schedule and transition from Olympics to the World Cup tour did not leave much room for regeneration. These racers may feel a little tired by now and opt to skip the Kvitfjell speed races, looking to make a run at the technical globes in the Finals at Garmisch-Partenkirchen next week-end.
Possible medal contenders
By taking a look at the downhill and super G results in recent years, some names seem to reappear in the top 3 including Michael Walchhofer (AUT), Didier Cuche and Didier Defago (both SUI), Manuel Osborne-Paradis (CAN), Bode Miller (USA), Aksel Lund Svindal (NOR), Klaus Kroell and Mario Scheiber (both AUT), Werner Heel (ITA). One should not be surprised if some of these guys will also finish on the podium this year. In addition, there are some new names that could provide stiff competition to established racers such as Canada's Erik Guay, who has finished just off the podium in fifth in both the Olympic downhill and super G and Bormio winner and 4th place finisher in Kitzbuehel Andrej Jerman (SLO).
Results in 2009
Manuel Osborne-Paradis surprised in the first of two downhills in Kvitfjell to take first place, followed by Austria's Michael Walchhofer and Norway's Aksel Lund Svindal in third. The day after, Walchhofer captured another silver medal and was beaten by his teammate Klaus Kröll while Osborne-Paradis got third.
Results of 1st training on Thursday, March 04, 2010:
Pre-Games favourite Didier Cuche of Switzerland who left Vancouver empty handed after he had travelled to Canada with a broken thumb, claimed the first training run for Saturday's (March 6) World Cup downhill. Austrian Michael Walchhofer finished in second while Canadian Erik Guay was third three respectively five tenths off the Swiss' time.
Rok Perko of Slovenia took fourth and Klaus Kroell of Austria fifth. Switzerland's Didier Defago who claimed the Olympic title in downhill, ended up in 14th position, while silver medalist Aksel Lund Svindal was 10th.
Program for Kvitfjell 2010
Saturday, March 06, 2010: Downhill at 11:30 CET
Sunday, March 07, 2010: Super G at 11:00 CET
Name of piste: Olympiabakken
Start: 1020 m
Finish: 182 m
Vertical height: 832 m
Length of piste: 3035 m
Ave. slope change: 29%
Max. slope change: 64%
Super G, Kvitfjell
Start: 823 Meter
Finish: 182 Meter
Vertical height: 641 m
Length of piste: 2574 m
Ave. slope change: 26%
Max. slope change: 64%