Kvitfjell

Bode Miller

New overall World Cup leader as Canadian wins in Kvitfjell; Americans in top 10

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Canadian Erik Guay won a World Cup downhill in Kvitfjell, Norway, on Saturday while Norwegian Aksel Lund Svindal‘s sixth-place finish was enough to move into the overall World Cup lead.

Americans Travis Ganong and Bode Miller were fourth and eighth, respectively. Ganong, 25, scored his first career World Cup podium in Friday’s downhill. Miller, 36, improved from 16th on Friday.

“It’s really fun skiing right now,” Ganong said. “I’m having a good time, and the results are coming. Hopefully in Lenzerheide [Switzerland at World Cup Finals in two weeks] I can make that one last little step up to the top of the podium and then just carry all this momentum towards the World Champs in Beaver Creek [in 2015]. I’d like to continue on this streak, it’s really nice right now.”

The World Cup tour continues with a super-G in Kvitfjell on Sunday. The women’s World Cup downhill scheduled for Saturday in Switzerland was canceled due to fog.

Guay, the 2011 world downhill champion, won his fifth career World Cup race and second this season in 1 minute, 22.17 seconds. France’s Johan Clarey was second, .35 behind, followed by Austrian Matthias Mayer, the Olympic downhill champion.

Ganong missed his second straight podium by .05.

Svindal, who went medal-less in Sochi while ill, moved ahead of Austrian Marcel Hirscher for the overall World Cup lead. Svindal specializes in speed events downhill and super-G, while Hirscher concentrates on technical events slalom and giant slalom.

Hirscher is trying to become the third man to win the overall World Cup title three straight years and the first since American Phil Mahre from 1981-83.

There are seven races left this season — four technical events and three speed events.

Kvitfjell Downhill No. 2
1. Erik Guay (CAN) 1:22.17
2. Johan Clarey (FRA) 1:22.52
3. Matthias Mayer (AUT) 1:22.74
4. Travis Ganong (USA) 1:22.79
5. Kjetil Jansrud (NOR) 1:22.80
6. Silvan Zurbriggen (SUI) 1:22.82
6. Aksel Lund Svindal (NOR) 1:22.82
8. Bode Miller (USA) 1:22.89
9. Dominik Paris (ITA) 1:23.02
10. Werner Heel (ITA) 1:23.04
24. Marco Sullivan (USA) 1:23.44
25. Steven Nyman (USA) 1:23.45
32. Erik Fisher (USA) 1:23.79
38. Andrew Weibrecht (USA) 1:23.85
46. Jared Goldberg (USA) 1:24.28

U.S. Alpine medalist lands on Wheaties box

American scores first Alpine podium in Kvitfjell; Bode Miller 16th

Travis Ganong
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What is the future of U.S. men’s Alpine skiing?

Travis Ganong consolidated his place going into the next Olympic cycle with his first career World Cup podium finish at the first post-Olympic race in Kvitfjell, Norway, on Friday.

Ganong, 25, took third in a downhill, .12 of a second behind co-winners Kjetil Jansrud of Norway and Georg Streitberger of Austria.

“This is a really big step in my career,” Ganong said. “I’ve been slowly building up the last four years on the World Cup tour and this last month or so I’ve really been finding some speed. Now I’m at a point where I’m really relaxed and having fun. The good skiing comes out when you’re relaxed and letting the skis roll.”

Ganong’s breakthrough came after a solid Olympics. He finished fifth in the Sochi downhill Feb. 9.

“I always told myself I’d get to this point,” Ganong said. “It was just a matter of time. I’ve had enough time now racing all these hills and I’m comfortable. I’m also stronger than I was last year and I’m more fit. I’m not burnt out at all. Usually at this time of year people are tired and right now I feel like I’m just starting out the season.”

He’s looking to be the face of U.S. men’s downhill skiing when Bode Miller calls it a career. Miller, 36, finished 16th on Friday. Olympic super-G silver medalist Andrew Weibrecht took 54th.

The other veteran U.S. Alpine star, Ted Ligety, is sitting out this weekend. He does not usually race downhills. Another downhill is slated for Saturday, followed by a super-G on Sunday.

Jansrud kept up his form from winning the Olympic super-G in Sochi. The Norwegian who tore an ACL at last year’s World Championships had not won a World Cup race in nearly two years.

Streitberger, 33, hadn’t finished first in a World Cup since Dec. 4, 2010. Countryman Matthias Mayer, the Olympic downhill champion, briefly lost balance near the top of the course and skied out.

Norwegian Aksel Lund Svindal placed fifth and clinched the season title in the downhill for the second straight year, with two races to go.

The race for the overall title is tighter. Svindal earned 45 points to draw within 13 of leader Marcel Hirscher of Austria. Svindal is better in speed events. Hirscher excels in technical races. Hirscher is trying to become the third man ever to win three straight overall titles and the first since American Phil Mahre from 1981-83.

There are four speed races and four technical races left this season, meaning the overall competition could come down to the final stop in Lenzerheide, Switzerland, in two weeks.

Kvitfjell Downhill No. 1
1. Kjetil Jansrud (NOR) 1:05.72
1. Georg Streitberger (AUT) 1:05.72
3. Travis Ganong (USA) 1:05.84
4. Erik Guay (CAN) 1:05.95
5. Aksel Lund Svindal (NOR) 1:06.09
6. Guillermo Fayed (FRA) 1:06.10
7. Romed Baumann (AUT) 1:06.13
7. Otmar Striedinger (AUT) 1:06.13
9. Silvano Varettoni (ITA) 1:06.22
10. Didier Defago (SUI) 1:06.23
10. Dominik Paris (ITA) 1:06.23
16. Bode Miller (USA) 1:06.44
18. Steven Nyman (USA) 1:06.47
21. Marco Sullivan (USA) 1:06.55
47. Erik Fisher (USA) 1:07.17
54. Andrew Weibrecht (USA) 1:07.61
59. Jared Goldberg (USA) 1:07.86

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Bode Miller, Julia Mancuso return as World Cup season continues

Bode Miller
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Sochi’s Alpine stars are back in action as early as Friday for the resumption of World Cup races.

Bronze medalist Bode Miller, the most decorated Olympic skier in U.S. history, is slated for a downhill in Kvitfjell, Norway, on Friday, the first of three straight days of racing at the site of the 1994 Olympics. Poor visibility canceled training Thursday.

If the weather brightens, Miller will take on a field including world champion Norwegian Aksel Lund Svindal, who will be looking to put an illness-filled, medal-less Olympics behind him.

Olympic giant slalom champion Ted Ligety will not race in Kvitfjell. He does not usually race downhills (Friday and Saturday) and opted out of coming over just for the super-G on Sunday.

The women’s tour resumes in Crans-Montana, Switzerland, with a downhill Saturday and a super combined Sunday. Olympic super combined bronze medalist Julia Mancuso is expected to race both days.

Olympic slalom champion Mikaela Shiffrin is not racing, as she is a slalom and giant slalom specialist.

Swiss Lara Gut, the Sochi downhill bronze medalist, was fastest in downhill training Thursday. Also in the field are German Maria Hoefl-Riesch and Slovenian Tina Maze, the most decorated active women’s skiers.

What’s on the line the rest of the season?

Precious crystal globes that go to individual discipline winners (except combined) and for overall points. Skiers accumulate points based on finishes in each race (100 for the winner, 80 for second, 60 for third, etc.).

Here are standings through 25 of 34 men’s races:

Overall
1. Marcel Hirscher (AUT) 955 points
2. Aksel Lund Svindal (NOR) 897
3. Alexis Pinturault (FRA) 774
4. Ted Ligety (USA) 629
5. Felix Neureuther (GER) 551
8. Bode Miller (USA) 449

Downhill (through six of nine races)
1. Aksel Lund Svindal (NOR) 440
2. Hannes Reichelt (AUT) 360 — OUT (back surgery)
3. Patrick Kueng (SUI) 239
6. Bode Miller (USA) 185

Super-G (through four of six races)
1. Aksel Lund Svindal (NOR) 296
2. Didier Defago (SUI) 162
3. Patrick Kueng (SUI) 159
4. Bode Miller (USA) 138

Svindal can clinch the downhill and super-G season titles with strong finishes this weekend.

Here are standings through 24 of 33 women’s races:

Overall
1. Maria Hoefl-Riesch (GER) 1,079
2. Tina Weirather (LIE) 943 — OUT FOR SEASON (shin injury)
3. Anna Fenninger (AUT) 871
4. Lara Gut (SUI) 796
5. Tina Maze (SLO) 754
6. Mikaela Shiffrin (USA) 650

Downhill (through seven of nine races)
1. Maria Hoefl-Riesch (GER) 475
2. Tina Weirather (LIE) 400 — OUT FOR SEASON (shin injury)
3. Marianne Kaufmann-Abderhalden (SUI) 389
11. Stacey Cook (USA) 133
14. Julia Mancuso (USA) 121

Combined (through one of two races)
1. Marie-Michele Gagnon (CAN) 100
2. Michaela Kirchgasser (AUT) 80
3. Maria Hoefl-Riesch (GER) 60

Hoefl-Riesch can clinch the downhill season title with a win Saturday, or a lower finish with help. The women’s super combined season title will be determined Sunday as it is the final super combined of the season.

Video: Ligety, Shiffrin on late-night talk shows