Reichelt holds off Jansrud in World Cup super-G
AP Sports Writer
BEAVER CREEK, Colo. — This is how Hannes Reichelt prefers his courses: daunting, with a dash of demanding and a bit of danger.
That’s why the Austrian feels so at home on the Birds of Prey hill.
Reichelt mastered a tricky World Cup super-G course Saturday, holding off Kjetil Jansrud to snap the Norwegian’s three-race win streak.
Hardly ever hitting the brakes, Reichelt sped down the harrowing track in 1 minute, 12.78 seconds. Jansrud was second, 0.52 seconds behind, and technical specialist Alexis Pinturault of France finished third.
“We have a nice relationship, that slope and me,” Reichelt said.
Reichelt is quickly getting up to speed after surgery to fix a herniated disk in his back last January knocked him out of the Sochi Olympics. He is pain-free again.
Skiing fast again, too. Especially on this course.
The 34-year-old Reichelt earned his first World Cup win at Beaver Creek in 2005 and has been on the podium six times at this venue.
“There are so many bumps and so many times when you don’t see the next gate,” he said. “So it’s really tough and you always have to ski great, and with (using) your brain. You have to know when to risk in the right part.”
He already is looking forward to the world championships on this course in February. He certainly will be one of the favorites in the super-G.
“This was a great step on the way to the championships,” Reichelt said.
For as splendid of run as Reichelt turned in, he still had to hold his breath when Jansrud took the course.
“I was really scared, because he’s really at another level,” Reichelt said.
Jansrud’s definitely the skier to beat whenever he steps into the start gate for a speed event. He won two races last weekend in Lake Louise, Alberta, and a downhill Friday at Beaver Creek in which he skied a near-perfect run.
This time, though, Jansrud made a big miscalculation. He struggled with a gate near the bottom of the course and got bounced around. Somehow, he managed not only to stay on course, but maintain his speed.
Still, his streak was snapped. Not that he was bemoaning his runner-up spot.
NOT AN ‘ARROGANT GUY’
“The day I get disappointed for second place is the day you turn into an arrogant guy,” said Jansrud, who vowed to hold off cutting his long hair given his recent success. “So that’s not going to happen. I was disappointing coming into the finish, more for the mistake. I knew I (messed) up a little bit.
“That’s how ski racing is. Some days you win, some you don’t. Second place with such a mistake is pretty good.”
Andrew Weibrecht was the top American; the skier nicknamed “War Horse” wound up 10th. He said he gained confidence after a solid 30th-place finish the day before in the downhill.
“The downhill was huge for me, excited about that just to be in the points,” said Weibrecht, who won silver in the super-G at the Sochi Olympics, finishing behind Jansrud. “I looked it up yesterday, and it was 1,777 days since I (last) scored a downhill point.”
WRIST ‘NOT AN ISSUE’
Ted Ligety was 11th — bad wrist and all. The two-time Olympic gold medalist had four metal screws inserted into his wrist as a result of a skiing mishap in a training session on Nov 22. But he hasn’t given the injury a second thought.
“The wrist is not an issue,” Ligety said.
The course layout? Now that’s a different story.
“The start was really daunting and intimidating. But you can’t let that get to you,” Ligety said. “Skied way, way too conservative up top. It looks hairy and gnarly and it’s actually pretty easy if you’re a good technical skier.”
Which, of course, Ligety is. Same with Pinturault, who really hasn’t worked on his speed that much but still found a fast line.
Although, he did appear to smack his shoulder on a gate. Didn’t slow him down, though.
“That’s skiing, sometimes you don’t control everything,” he said. “I tried to stay focused.”
The Birds of Prey competition concludes Sunday with a giant slalom, which is Ligety’s specialty.
“It’s always fun to ski a GS here,” Ligety said. “It’s an awesome hill.”
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