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Post by Bleausardv2 on Sat Jan 07, 2012 3:45 pm

Firstly an update on the two slaloms I missed in Zagreb – Women’s first (3 Jan) – after the first run Marlies Schild (who else?) was in first from Tina Maze and Michaela Kirchgasser. Lindsey Vonn was only 23rd, so perhaps a chance for Maria Höfl-Riesch to close the points gap? On to run 2 and Vonn was early away but put in a real flyer while the piste was still relatively pristine – 2.2 seconds faster than the previous best (and in the end the second fastest 2nd run?). Emelie Wikstrom (Swe) managed to go even faster on a course that was starting to break up and her countrywoman Therese Borssen nearly matched her- Sweden 1/2. Now Maria H-R and a real chance but she missed out again and DNF; doesn’t seem to be the same athlete this year! Now for the excitement – Mölgg lost some of her lead early on but then improved lower down to take the lead, until Kirchgasser took it away. She’d hardly got settled when Tina Maze absolutely flew down to take the lead by a massive 0.87 seconds, although even her second run was 0.01 slower than Vonn’s. Just Schild to go – five from five?? Marlies started 0.95 seconds up and went flat out – fastest second run (on a rutted piste) and she ended up 1.4 seconds ahead – amazing form at present! So – Schild/Maze/Kirchgasser/Mölgg, although I think Kirchgasser may have picked up an injury? Lindsey Vonn 9th, so useful points in her weaker discipline.

The Men’s slalom (5th Jan) was also in less than ideal conditions and in run 1 the top 4 places went to the first 4 starters in their start order! The surprise was Ted Ligety who started quite late but still managed to get 6th place from start number 17 – very much the exception! Run 1 ended with Marcel Hirscher leading from Myhrer and Kostelic. The second run was less technical but with just 6 skiers down the course was already cutting up badly on the lower sections. On his run even Ted Ligety lost nearly 2 seconds but Cristian Deville survived to take the lead. Felix Neureuther (Ger) then went even faster. Andre Myhrer was my nomination for “recovery of the day” but that lost him too much time and he was out of the running. Hirscher however made no real mistakes and held his lead to get the win from Felix N and Ivica Kostelic. Not the best of races!!

Men’s GS – Adelboden (7 Jan): Another tricky day with the resort team needing a massive effort to deal with the fresh snow – end result a demanding and quite icy course, but breaking up lower?! The main Eurosport effort was on yet more ski jumping, with yet more shots of worried faces, falling snow and windsocks – riveting stuff! Luckily I caught a commentary free feed on another part of the Eurosport player until the main channel caught up. A great first run from Ted Ligety, and an even better one from Marcel Hirscher. Fritz Dopfer (Ger) looked as though he might upset the leader board but fell 2 gates from the finish and slid over the line – for a while he was shown as 4th but as I suspected he had missed the last gate and was DQ. Next up was Max Blardone (Ita); he had a good run and went third. That seemed to sort out the top 3 and despite some great names trying very hard it stayed the same; the French took 4/5 (Missilier & Richard) ahead of Benni Raich; there were more epic recoveries en route and Bode went out.

On to run 2, with the weather breaking as another storm comes in; early drama when Beat Feuz (starting at no 3) skied out to avoid a course worker and was sent back to re-run (no use, still DNF). No such confusion for Aksel Lund Svindal who after a disappointing first run did ski out on run 2. Alexis Pinturault (Fra) who had a good recovery on run 1, went flat out again on run 2 and took the lead by 1.58 seconds – seems to like living dangerously, but it worked today, at least for a while! Meanwhile, the weather continued to deteriorate – visibility dropping a bit with snow/rain coming in. Reichelt and Olsson both skied out at a similar point – but Kostelic had a good run and goes into third, nice effort in the conditions. Talking of great efforts – Romed Baumann (Aut) spoilt Alex’s day by only 0.08 seconds; however his countryman, Benni Raich, did even better building from about 0.33 seconds early on to lead by a massive 1.2 seconds! Recovery of the day arguably by Cyprien Richard (?) and he still managed to get into second, until Blardone took it from him. On to Ted Ligety, with over a second’s advantage at the start – going well but losing time – 0.06 slower than Benni – one more to go! Hirscher also lost some time on the first section, but unlike Ted he (just) kept the light green all the way – Marcel Hirscher wins it by 0.08 from Raich (nice to see him back on the podium) and Max Blardone; Ted 4th. Good day for Austria!

Women’s Downhill – Bad Kleinkirchheim: The skiers rep (Lara Gut) apparently asked the FIS after training if this course could be slightly amended at the very top; the response was apparently bluntly unhelpful - not sure if they eventually did amend it but in the end there were 17 DNFs of 60 starters, possibly hard to keep a balance between really demanding and plain unrealistic, and it needs to be a real test? No Maria H-R today (fever and flu apparently). Anyway, on to the race itself – early pace setters were the Italians with Schnarf and Recchia taking the top two places until Aufdenblatten (Swi) took the lead by 0.78 seconds; red rag to the Austrians and Andrea Fischbacher (Aut) knocked another 0.56 seconds off the best. Anna Fenninger, who was fastest in practice, could only manage second – but good names still to come! Viktoria Rebensberg (Ger) was doing really well until missing a gate in the middle section – pity. Marie Marchand Arvier (Fra) got even further down before having a trip into the netting – luckily seems to be OK. Great recovery by Fabienne Suter (Swi), and even with that error she goes into the lead! Brilliant run from Julia Mancuso – green light all the way and into the lead by 0.34 – if Julia can do that, what will Vonn do? As if to prove that the top gates are very tricky, Lindsey nearly falls early on but what a recovery, risk after risk all the way to go into third, only 0.39 off Mancuso’s time (and apparently she has a stomach bug!)! Just when you might have thought the excitement couldn’t go on, Liz Görgl (Aut) also risked it all and took the lead by 0.16 seconds – very popular with the crowd. Good to see Laurenne Ross back after her injury at Lake Louise – 40 stitches and still back on the circuit! That was about it – great win by Görgl, good second place for Mancuso with Fabienne Suter third and a fantastic recovery by Lindsey Vonn to get 4th.
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Alpine Update Empty Update 14 Jan

Post by Bleausardv2 on Sat Jan 14, 2012 2:29 pm

Men’s Super Combi at Wengen: Missed most of this (and a few results from last weekend – catch up on fisalpine.com), but it’s a downhill followed by a slalom run; a good test for all! At the end of the downhill Beat Feuz had a good lead with Bode Miller in second and looking good as he’s quite nifty on the slalom on the right day! On to the slalom and Ivica Kostelic, only 23rd after the downhill and almost 3 whole seconds back on the leader, showed his slalom skills to set a competitive time on a course that looked set to cut up as the race developed. The state of the piste probably didn’t help the later starters, but to be fair the top 10 aren’t anywhere in the same class as Kostelic in slalom events either and he pulled off an amazing win from Beat Feuz and Bode Miller – very exciting and unpredictable race and great for the spectators. More details at www.fisalpine.com/news/kostelic-comes-from-behind-win-super-combined,1649.html

Women’s Downhill at Cortina d’Ampezzo. A lovely day but with a sometimes strong and unpredictable wind reminding everyone that this is an outdoor sport! Early leader was Italy’s Daniela Merighetti, with a great run in good conditions – her time stayed the one to beat despite some of the big names trying to dislodge her! Lindsey Vonn, now fully fit, got very slightly into the green light area at intermediate 1, but was fractionally behind later on as she got the full force of the wind – into 2nd by 0.21 seconds. Maria Höfl-Riesch was also back from illness, and the next to challenge – much more what we expect from her – green light early but then a little behind at the remaining intermediates – into provisional third. Anna Fenninger looked good early but then had an epic (escape of the day, or maybe Stuhec?) and dropped out. A possible surprise might have been Tina Weirather (Lie) who again was very competitive early on, but slipped back a little to go into 5th – good result for her though. No more surprises and Merighetti got a very well deserved win on her home soil, with Vonn 2nd and Höfl-Riesch 3rd – nice to see them both fit again.

Men’s Downhill – Wengen: The famous Lauberhorn race – 4.5 Km long with speeds of up to 150 Km/h – 59 starters today in lovely weather although the sun may soften the snow later? I know this is probably an easier event to cover than a biathlon, but the coverage today was excellent with some brilliant shots from the helicopter. Bib number 1 was Hannes Reichelt (Aut) – great run and 145.7 Km/h though the final speed gun; early one to beat! A number of other skiers beat Reichelt’s time at the top but then faded lower, and he held the lead until bib 16, one Beat Feuz, although Christof Innerhofer came within 0.05 seconds! Feuz was really flying at the top – 81.2 Km/h out of the Kernan S – some wondered if his efforts yesterday might leave him too tired on the lower sections but he held on to take the lead by 0.44 seconds. Svindal followed, apparently suffering this week from a serious lung and throat infection; this might stop lesser mortals but he made it down the hill and was in touch. Next contender was Bode Miller (at that stage leading the downhill standings) and he was his usual impressive self – he flickered between red and green all the way down but was slower than Feuz on the final section and went into 5th. Marc Gisin was my nomination for epic of the day – nearly lost it twice into the S, but pulled back to get the turn and somehow stayed in touch all the way down, into 11th! In the end it was Beat Feuz who took the win (which I think now puts him ahead of Bode in the downhill standings) from Hannes Reichelt, Innerhofer, Janka, Miller and Kröll. Impressive stuff!
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Alpine Update Empty Sunday 15 Jan

Post by Bleausardv2 on Sun Jan 15, 2012 3:03 pm

Women’s GS at Cortina d’Ampezzo. Missed it all, alas and doubt if we'll see it on the BBC as although they are belatedly covering some events, they seem to feature only the men – however a good day for the “old firm” with Lindsey Vonn winning from Maria Höfl-Riesch, then Tina Maze, Lizzie Görgl, Julia Mancuso and Jessica Lindell-Vikarby. More details at www.fisalpine.com/news/lindsey-vonn-super-again-cortina-super,1656.html

Men’s Slalom at Wengen: After the first run Mario Matt had a narrow lead over Cristian Deville with Ivica Kostelic worryingly close in third. Then Myhrer (Swe) and confusingly Myhre (Nor). On to run 2 – at about half way Alexis Pinturault was leading, but Stefano Gross, despite losing time at the top, nailed the lower section to nick it by 0.03! Next into the prospective top slot was Fritz Dopfer (Ger) with a good run, 0.46 faster than the previous best. His countryman, Felix Neureuther looked less assured, but despite living dangerously he went into second. Grange fell, hopefully not doing any serious damage, and Myhre lost time; however Myhrer (that’s the Swedish one) was more successful and took the lead, again by only 0.03. Now it’s Kostelic, and at the top he was losing time – but this is his discipline and he stabilised his lead in the middle section before destroying the lower section to go 0.85 ahead – an awesome performance with max effort just at the right time! Deville tried hard but was noticeably less fluent than Ivica; just one to come. Mario Matt also looked good at the top, but a few errors on the steep cost him time – so, win 2 (from 3 events) at Wengen for Kostelic (a very rewarding weekend for him!), from Myhrer and Dopfer. Matt took 4th ahead of Neureuther and Deville.
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Alpine Update Empty Kitzbühel & Kranjska Gora

Post by Bleausardv2 on Fri Jan 20, 2012 12:13 pm

First bit of news isn't good - the Men's Super G (scheduled for Friday 20 Jan) has been cancelled due to heavy rain on Thursday and now heavy falls of wet snow. Apparently there are about 500 people working on site to try and get the resort ready for Saturday's downhill, but with more snow forecast it all looks a little doubtful - pity as, apart from anything else, Didier Cuche has announced his retirement at the end of the season, and as Kitzbühel marked the first win of his career, it would have been great to get a good result in his final visit. More at www.fisalpine.com/news/kitzbuhel-men-super-canceled,1673.html

Saturday: Firstly the Women's GS from Kranjska Gora - alas not live on Eurosport (wall to wall blasted tennis! furious ) and when I tried the "extra" channel the video kept dropping out - over to the live-ticker. First run was a cracker - Lindsey Vonn went first but was almost immediately overtaken by Lizzie Görgl; Tessa Worley went 2nd and Federica Brignone third. That's pretty much the way it stayed - a batch of skiers went about 0.84 seconds slower to fill up the top 10, and then the next batch went about 1.4 seconds slower to fill the teens (massive generalisation, and as we know all generalisations are false) - after run 1 it was Görgl/Worley/Brignone/Karbon/Vonn/Zettel. I missed run 2 as I was absorbed in the men's downhill, of which more later. However, Lizzie Görgl fell on her second run (hopefully alright) and the race was won by Tessa Worley (Fra) from Brignone (Ita) and Rebensburg (Ger, good comeback). Lindsey Vonn was 4th, ahead of Tina Maze and Maria Höfl-Riesch. See www.fisalpine.com/news/tessa-worley-takes-tough-kranjska-gora,1678.html

Men's Downhill at Kitzbühel: DON'T READ IF YOU WANT A SURPRISE WHEN THE BBC DEIGN TO COVER IT TOMORROW! Despite the best efforts of the piste workers, the weather forced the start to a lower level, so no Steilhang today! However, still a tricky course and in appalling conditions - the "TV run" by Hans Knauss looked horrible and presumably the goggles will cover just as the camera lens did? The forecast was that things would get worse; not sure they did much but the storm was certainly coming in and this must have been beyond marginal! The commentators reckoned that max speed would be down from about 125 Km/h to something more reasonable, but Marc Gisin, who was the unlucky man who had to go first, clocked 126 through the final speed gun - brave people these downhill types! Keppler (Ger) briefly took the lead, and was in turn overtaken by Puchner (Aut). Johan Clarey (Fra) went through the gun at 130.6 Km/h but missed Puchner's time by only 0.04 - the French were going well in the awful conditions (Thieux also well up) and I surely couldn't have been the only one to wonder if this would be another race abandoned with the French well placed? Beat Feuz (Swi) went even faster than Clarey, but again couldn't match the leader's time, again by less than a tenth.

Next to go was Bode Miller - always an exciting man to watch but today it was heart in mouth stuff - how he recovered I don't know but that was certainly my nomination for epic of the day, although Werner Heel and Robbie Dixon both had their moments later. Now for the magic - Didier Cuche (Swi), who is retiring at the end of the season and had his first win here, was bidding to become the only man to win 5 downhills here; at present he is tied with the great Franz Klammer (in the crowd today) on 4. Early on Cuche had the red light, and wasn't by any means the fastest through the speed gun, but overall his was the fastest run and he went into the lead. Chewing on finger nails time as his fans wondered if that would stay. Klaus Kröll (Aut) came very close to Didier's time and Romed Baumann (Aut) was even closer, but no big cigars yet. As the list progressed it looked ever better for Cuche - I thought Jan Hudec (Can) might spoil his day, but after a very fast run he got knocked onto the tails of his skis low down and lost time. Andrej Sporn (Slo) almost caused an upset, as did late starting American Marco Sullivan - the Americans seemed well prepared today as Travis Ganong also went well. At the end however it was Didier Cuche's day - brilliant win and a great way to mark his final visit here. Baumann, Kröll and Puchner took the next three places for Austria ahead of Clarey and Feuz. Very exciting race in awful weather - huge respect for everyone who took part. More at www.fisalpine.com/news/cuche-wins-downhill-for-record-5th-time-hahnenkamm,1679.html


Last edited by Bleausardv2 on Sat Jan 21, 2012 4:25 pm; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : Update on Saturday's races)
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Alpine Update Empty Kitzbühel & Kranjska Gora - Slaloms

Post by Bleausardv2 on Sun Jan 22, 2012 4:28 pm

Women's Slalom - Kranjska Gora: Not a great deal of detail; more at the FIS site www.fisalpine.com/news/kirchgasser-lands-first-slalom-victory-kranjska-gora,1681.html. In Run 1 a tricky course eliminated a number of potential winners including Maria Höfl-Riesch and, even more amazingly, the favourite Marlies Schild. At the end of run 1 Michaela Kirchgasser (Aut) was in the lead from Zuzulova (Svk), Poutiainen (Fin), Maze (Slo), Dürr (Ger) and Hansdottir (Swe). Onto run 2 and with the top 10 still to come Katrin Zettel was fastest from Hosp (both Aut) and Geiger (Ger). Again a tricky course, and it caught out Tessa Worley, yesterday's GS winner, and Nicole Gius, both of whom seemed OK. Next down was Lindsey Vonn, carrying forward a lead of nearly 1 second from run 1; by intermediate 2 she'd lost it all, but still managed third at that stage. A couple more large leads vanished as mistakes took their toll, but then Tina Maze took the lead. Tanja Poutiainen looked to be going the wrong way as her lead from run 1 began to evaporate, but she skied the lower half well and got it back to finish 1.01 faster - massive effort. Last to go was Kirchgasser and although she also seemed to lose time at the top, she too held on and took a well deserved win - result Kirchgasser (Aut); Poutiainen (Fin); Zuzolova (Svk) & Maze (Slo).

Men's Slalom - Kitzbühel: Unusually the BBC actually covered this (admittedly only on the red button, but still - much appreciated) which meant I could sit in a comfy chair and got a break from Nick Fellows' enthusiastic but sometimes slightly overblown commentary and tortured pronunciation! After run 1 Mario Matt (Aut) was leading from Ivica Kostelic (Cro) and Marcel Hirscher (Aut). Some controversy about Hirscher who was alleged to have straddled a gate in run 1 - the jury watched the video and reinstated him, although the Croatians apparently believe that he's done it before too (although as the obvious beneficiary of any amendment is Croatian, they aren't exactly impartial!!) - bit late to protest now! On to run 2 and a great run early on from Wolfgang Hörl (Aut) whose lights went green, red, green and into the lead by 0.81 seconds. By now the piste was breaking up a bit and the clouds were gathering again. Stefano Gross (Italy) looked to be going well when his left ski came off - didn't seem to be a huge load on it; technical problem? Razzioli then took the lead (nothing wrong with his skis!) but his countryman Patrik Thaler could have taken it away but for a massive error only 3 or 4 gates from home. Next down was Manfred Molgg (Italy), and his left ski also came off quite early on - I wonder if a technician has some explaining to do?? Myhrer (Swe) looked to be out of contention as his lead went into the red, but he really pulled it back on the lower section to take a surprise lead by 0.06! France's Steve Missilier looked more convincing and built on his lead to go first by almost a second. By contrast Jens Byggmark looked wild all the way down, but somehow managed to go into second! By now I suspect the Italian technicians had really looked carefully at Cristian Deville's skis - they stayed on all the way to great effect as he took over top spot, again by almost a second. Next was Marcel Hirscher and he was all over the place, the lights flickering between red and green all the way until he definitely straddled a gate and was DQ'd - bit disappointed in him as he claims he didn't notice; believable once maybe but 5 times? Ivica Kostelic also didn't look as smooth as normal, and his advantage from run 1 decreased all the way down, eventually leaving him 0.78 behind Deville. That just left Mario Matt, and again his lead was whittled away as he went into second. The result - Deville (Ita); Matt (Aut) and Kostelic (Cro). That slalom performance however meant that Kostelic took first place in the combination (downhill & slalom), from Beat Feuz and Silvan Zurbriggen (both Swi) - bit odd to give more points for this??
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