Swiss Success at The Lake Louise World Cup Super-G
By Michael Mastarciyan
Christmas came early for Tobias Gruenenfelder with the gift of a Super-G victory today in Lake Louise - the first ever World Cup title for the 33-year-old Swiss racer whose first race on the tour happened way back in January 1997.
Gruenenfelder’s time of 1-minute, 32.31 seconds was enough to beat teammate Carlo Janka who was just 0.07 seconds out of first place.
Austria’s Romed Baumann finished in 3rd in a time of 1-minute, 32.58 seconds giving the Austrian men their third podium of the weekend.
“It’s very emotional and I’m very happy because it was a hard time and long time for me to wait until the first win so it’s a great feeling. It was a really great run and a great day for me and Switzerland,” Gruenenfelder said after the race.
“I like this course and I like the snow here, it’s aggressive snow but yesterday it was too icy for me and I didn’t have enough grip. But today it was a very nice run with good snow and I liked it,” he added.
Gruenenfelder, one of the oldest first time winners ever in the Super-G discipline said he was on pins and needles watching the other racers come down the mountain after he had finished his run and was sitting on top of the results board.
“I was very nervous especially when Janka came down and was ahead until the last interval it was really close and I was sweating,” Gruenenfelder confessed.
Gruenenfelder’s teammate, Swiss wunderkind Janka, told reporters he was very happy for the day’s outcome even if it came at the expense of his own victory.
“I’m pretty happy of course to be on the podium again here in Lake Louise in Super-G. It’s special for me because it’s not my best discipline so I’m glad to be here and I had a good run today and of course it’s also a great day for the Swiss team. It’s good to have a win for Tobias and I’m also glad for my second place,” Janka said.
On the other side of the coin, it was a day of disappointment for the Canadian team and their hometown fans as reigning Lake Louise Super-G champion Manuel Osborne-Paradis and 2009/2010 overall World Cup Super-G champion Erik Guay finished 15th and 16th respectively. Fellow Canadian Robbie Dixon also had a disappointing result finishing in 17th.
“I’m not going to make any excuses. I just didn’t ski well today,” Osborne-Paradis said.
“But it’s the first weekend of speed events of the season and I know things will get better,” he added.
“I’m a little disappointed but it didn’t feel too bad out there. I thought I brought a little more intensity to it but obviously that didn’t work out quite the way I’d planned. I’m going to have to go back and analyze some tapes and see what’s happening out there and keep progressing and keep working hard and hopefully it’ll unblock,” added Guay.
Norway’s Aksel Lund Svindal, a favourite going into the race, said the weekend was bittersweet overall, with success on Saturday (with a second place in the downhill) and a less than spectacular Super-G result on Sunday with a 29th place finish.
“This weekend was kind of two experiences, yesterday was good and today was horrible - horrible as in bad skiing. Not sure what happened really, it felt better than that but that’s the way it is sometimes. I guess when you don’t make mistakes you feel solid sometimes, but you’re just not fast enough.”