What such a disappointing experience can trigger! In Kitzbühel, Vincent Kriechmayr was the top favorite for the most prestigious title in the Alpine Ski World Cup – but instead of securing at least one of the two Streif titles after his best training time, the Mühlviertler ended up being beaten and frustrated in 9th and 17th place To despair, Kriechmayr turned this negative experience into positive energy – turned every stone over during the setup and only then really got off to a good start in the season. And how! Super G victory in Kitzbühel, Super G victory in Garmisch, Super G gold in Cortina, downhill gold in Cortina. And last but not least, the final crowning of an (almost) perfect racing season followed on Thursday in the form of the crystal ball in the SuperG. Without a fight, because neither the women’s nor the men’s races in Lenzerheide could take place due to fog and recent snow masses, but by no means undeserved. After all, the Swiss Marco Odermatt was distanced by a whopping 83 points in the end.
For the ÖSV men it is the first Super-G crystal since Hannes Reichelt in 2008. After a ball-free preseason, alpine men write two crystal in winter 2020/21, because last Sunday the Carinthian Marco Schwarz had in Kranjska Gora won the slalom ranking early. Matthias Mayer, second in the downhill classification, landed third in the Super G.
Kriechmayr would have preferred a final showdown on Thursday: “It’s a shame that we didn’t have a race, then the emotions would have been a bit bigger if I had done well, of course,” said the Gramastettner after receiving the crystal ball. “It’s a great moment and a satisfaction. It was a great season, I can be very proud.” In the previous season, the Upper Austrian had only missed the small ball by three points; even in the previous seasons he had always been close. “That I now have a ball, I have to say thank you to my team-mates. You can only get better through strong competition, they pushed me.”
By this, Kriechmayr also meant his ball predecessor Reichelt. “It is a nice coincidence that I can now follow in his footsteps, especially since he has now ended his career. I do hope that we won’t have to wait that long for a Super G ball.”
Reichelt drove in leather pants
Reichelt actually wanted to give his farewell performance as a Super-G forerunner on Thursday – nothing came of it, but the 40-year-old was allowed to complete a farewell run. In the leather pants. At the finish, the Salzburger was finally welcomed by colleagues, trainers and supervisors with a champagne shower. “Today I woke up and thought to myself, race! Oh no, it’s over. A huge chunk fell from me, I don’t regret it yet. Emotionally, however, I’m still far from skiing,” he said Super G world champion in 2015 and Kitzbühel winner in 2014.
With the cancellation of the last two speed races this year (the downhill runs had to be canceled on Wednesday), the fight for the large crystal balls is becoming more and more difficult for the pursuers. In the men’s category, the Frenchman Alexis Pinturault has a 31-point lead over Odermatt before the final races in giant slalom and slalom; the Slovak Petra Vlhova takes 96 points of padding on Gut-Behrami into the weekend.
Despite the home advantage in Lenzerheide, it is almost hopeless for the two Swiss to conquer the big ball. Because while the chances are even in the giant slalom, Odermatt has never contested a World Cup slalom, so Pinturault is already second in his favorite discipline on Saturday. Gut-Behrami, meanwhile, is not even thinking about buckling up the short slalom slats on Saturday. “Today I won something and lost nothing,” said Gut-Behrami, referring to the small crystal in the Super-G rating.
Odermatt: “Vinc Best”
Odermatt was disappointed, however: “That is of course a shame, yesterday and today great opportunities in terms of the overall World Cup were lost. The fight with Vinc was also decided prematurely. It is what it is. Vinc was the best Super-G driver, he.” has earned it, “said the 23-year-old Swiss. “My form is very good, the slope is also good for me. In theory it would have been possible if Vinc had helped me a little. Which he certainly wouldn’t have done. But you hope until the end.” His focus is now on the small ball in the giant slalom – then he will keep looking.(may)