Austrian surprise: Goergl holds on for super-G win |

Austrian surprise: Goergl holds on for super-G win

Special to the DailyAustria's Stephan Goergl celebrates at the finish line Thursday after his winning run at the World Cup Birds of Prey super-G competition. Goergl held off American Bode Miller by .24 seconds.

BEAVER CREEK – The future of the Austrian Men’s Alpine Ski Team is resting on strong shoulders. Stephan Goergl, the son of Traudl Hecher, a two-time Olympic bronze medalist for Austria in women’s downhill in 1960 and 1964, and older brother of Austrian women’s team member Elisabeth Goergl, won his first World Cup race Thursday in the super-G on the Birds of Prey at Beaver Creek. Goergl’s run of 1 minute, 13:40 seconds was fast enough to hold off current World Cup overall leader Bode Miller of the United States, who finished second in 1:13.64. The win for the 26-year-old Goergl snapped Miller’s streak of three consecutive wins to start the season and gave the Austrian team its first victory after four races. Goergl’s teammate Mario Scheiber, only 20 years old and competing in his first season of World Cup, finished third in 1:13.72.”I didn’t expect to win,” Goergl said. “Not me. Definitely, not me. I need definitely two or three days to realize what happened. It feels really good.”

Miller was pleased with his runner-up run after failing to finish in all three races held on the Birds of Prey last season. “My streak wasn’t going to go on forever,” he said. “Second place is great. If I finished third or fourth, that would’ve been great, too.”The Austrian team had five racers finish in the top 10. Fritz Strobl, the fastest skier in Wednesday’s downhill training run, finished fifth in 1:13.93. Current overall No. 2, Hermann Maier, finished eighth in 1:14.14, and Benjamin Raich was 10th at 1:14:36.By accumulating 80 points with his second-place finish, Miller extended his substantial lead in the overall race. He now leads with 380 points, 212 more than Maier’s 168. American Daron Rahlves (104), who finished 17th Thursday with a time of 1:14.56, in sixth.Maier’s finish came despite a costly mistake when he clipped a gate near the top of the course and lost his left pole.Tobias Gruenenfelder of Switzerland (fourth, 1:13.77), Alessandro Fattori of Italy (fifth, 1:13.90), Marco Buechel of Liechtenstein (seventh, 1:14.13) and Patrick Jaerbyn of Sweden (ninth, 1:14.47) filled out the top 10.

The long waitSince he ran 11th, Goergl had to wait for what felt like forever before claiming his first World Cup win. Scheiber, who ran third and was the early leader, had to wait even longer to find out he ended up in the top 3. When Miller crossed the finish line .24 seconds behind, Goergl said the sense of relief was overwhelming.”It was really the greatest feeling I ever had,” he said. “Bode is in such good shape and it feels so great to stay in the lead when he finished.”Miller’s run was typical Bode. After the third-fastest start, he hit the second interval as the sixth fastest and then the third at 11th before tearing down the final stretch with the tightest line to nab second.

His biggest mistake came in the turn below The Pumphouse when he ran into soft balls of snow on the side of the course and struggled to find a solid edge.”I made one mistake in the whole course and that was it,” Miller said. “It’s a frustrating mistake because I wasn’t trying to take any risk there. … I was just trying to make it through. I just got low on The Pumphouse turn, and the next turn the snow was a lot different. … There was nothing to push on.”It’s not the skisOne of the better subplots in Thursday’s race, other than Miller’s streak coming to an end and Austrian youth being served, was that Goergl won on Fischer skis. After Miller switched to Atomic in the offseason and inherited Thomas Buergler, the former ski tech for retired two-time overall champ Stefan Eberharter of Austria, there was some talk this week that Miller’s current domination was a result of that switch.

The Austrian Ski Federation was incensed that Miller and Rahlves, who also has Buergler selecting and waxing his skis, had seemingly butted to the front of the line with Atomic, which has supplied Austria’s superstars with its best skis over the years.Goergl’s win may have quieted some of that discussion.”I think they should stop crying,” Rahlves said. “They’ve had that advantage as long as I can remember. Those guys shouldn’t be whining about that.”The speed battle continues today at 11 a.m. with the downhill. Nate Peterson can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 608, or via e-mail at

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