One year later, Rahlves wins Kitzbuehel super-G
KITZBUEHEL, Austria – One day before defending his Hahnenkamm downhill title, American Daron Rahlves surprised himself Friday as he grabbed the sixth World Cup victory of his career, capturing a super-G by .03 seconds over Austrian hero Hermann Maier.
Rahlves, third a day earlier in a make-up downhill opening the 64th Kitzbuehel race weekend, finished in 1 minute, 23.08 seconds.
“It’s a love affair between (Daron) and Kitz,” head coach Phil McNichol said. “You see him the week before Kitzbuehel and he’s like a kid before Christmas. He just wants to get here and get skiing here. He loves this place.”
Rahlves, skiing 18th, led from the top and padded his time at the bottom of the 2.3K course for his second podium in 24 hours.
Maier was timed in 1:23.11 with teammates Michael Walchhofer in third and Andreas Schifferer in fourth.
Bode Miller was the only other American in the top 30, finishing 28th with Summit County’s Jake Fiala in 33rd and Thomas Vonn in 49th.
Rahlves, prefacing his comments with a smile and “So far, so good,” said he carried good feelings from his podium Thursday into the race, which had been weathered-out in Bormio, Chamonix and Wengen.
“I just wanted to come in here and ski smart on this hill,” he said. “I didn’t think there was any chance I was gonna win it. To go against the Austrians and Hermann, with his track record and how well he’s done here …”
Maier had won his last three super-Gs in Kitzbuehel before Rahlves snipped his string.
It’s the first super-G victory for Rahlves, the most successful U.S. man in downhill with five World Cup wins.
The victory also is only the second World Cup super-G win by an American, following Tommy Moe’s triumph at Whistler, B.C., in 1994. Rahlves also was the super-G gold medalist at the 2001 World Championships in St. Anton.
It’s also the fourth time in four seasons the Lake Tahoe racer, a graduate of Vermont’s Green Mountain Valley School, had been on a Kitzbuehel podium.
Rahlves tied for third in a downhill in 2001, won the 2003 Hahnenkamm and then came through with his back-to-back performances this week.
Lasse Kjus of Norway, who won Thursday and was fifth in the super-G, leads the World Cup points with Miller seventh and Rahlves ninth
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