Reichelt leads in downhill ski training
- Published: 7/02/2013 at 06:44 PM
- Online news:
The usual suspects of speed kings ruled the top times in Thursday's first training run for the men's downhill, the blue riband event of the World Ski Championships scheduled for the weekend.
Austria's Hannes Reichelt is pictured during the men's downhill training of the 2013 Ski World Championships in Schladming, Austria on February 7, 2013. The usual suspects of speed kings ruled the top times in Thursday's first training run for the men's downhill, the blue riband event of the World Ski Championships scheduled for the weekend.
Austrian Hannes Reichelt, who this season won in Bormio and had third-spot placings in Wengen and Kitzbuehel, timed the fastest descent in 2min 02.98sec, followed by in-form Italian duo Dominik Paris and Christof Innerhofer.
Although the Planai course lacks the steepness and outright speed of a more classic downhill race, it remains testing, with a handful of snaking sections interspersed with big rolls that catapaulted the racers into the air at speeds around 108kph.
Add to that more overnight snow on an already-rough track, and it's understandable why many chose a conservative descent of the 3.3km-long course, which features a vertical drop of 976m.
"It's a boost," said Reichelt, who finished fourth in the men's super-G on Wednesday.
"Given my performance in that, fourth place was quite bitter," he said. "But actually, it looks like everything fits. You have to have luck on your side to stand on the podium."
Reichelt added: "The suedtirol (Italian) group of racers is incredibly fast but I don't think (Aksel Lund) Svindal has put all his cards on the table yet."
Canada's reigning downhill champion Erik Guay was in fourth in training and Norwegian Svindal, the 2010 Olympic downhill silver medallist and 2007 world champion in Are, fifth.
"They are extremely tough conditions today," said Svindal. "Because there are a lot of rolls and a lot of terrain on the course, with the changing snow condition, it makes it really tough.
"It's icy in places and in a lot of places there is still a lot of bad, fresh snow on the course that shouldn't be there, so they've got a lot of work to do on that, then I think it'll be good."
Austrians Klaus Kroell and Max Franz, Frenchmen Adrien Theaux and David Poisson and Germany's Stephan Keppler made up the rest of the top 10.
Theaux said the Planai course was "not easy".
"The snow is a little bit soft. It was a good training, not the best, it's okay we have another training tomorrow. I feel good with the slope," he said.
Switzerland's defending Olympic champion Didier Defago finished almost 2sec off the pace, as his team sought to rebound from the absence of now-retired speed legend Didier Cuche and give their season a much-needed kickstart.
Given the risk involved in downhill racing, skiers have the chance to try out the course three times in training and enjoy regular pre-race course inspections.
The men get another outing on the course on Friday ahead of Saturday's actual downhill.
About the author
- Writer: AFP
Position: News agency