Freud: Place your bets: The picks for 2019 Worlds (column) | VailDaily.com

Freud: Place your bets: The picks for 2019 Worlds (column)

Shiffrin and Hirscher may win races

Happy 2019 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships, everyone.

First off, let's just be joyful we are four years removed from this being at Beaver Creek. (Sorry, but my inner monologue just typed that. I usually go into the fetal position at the Vail Daily's offices if someone suggests that Worlds return here.)

The following is a doubtless an exercise in futility. Even trained professionals, such as we are, really shouldn't do this, but what the heck?

When we did this before 2015 Worlds, I was 2-for-10 in picking the races. I had Hannes Reichelt winning the men's super-G and Mikaela Shiffrin taking the slalom. Smart guy that I am, I had Marcel Hirscher over Ted Ligety in the giant slalom.

Good job, Freud.

So take this all with a grain of salt, people.

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Women

Super-G, today

I know we all want to see Lindsey Vonn go out with a blaze of glory, winning this race and Sunday's downhill. First, she hasn't won gold at Worlds since 2009 in Val d'Isere, France, where she took both the downhill and the super-G. That's a long time ago.

I’m rooting for it, but you don’t bet with your heart.

Our super-G leader heading into Worlds is Shiffrin. You might have heard of her. By every report, it seems that, despite being 3-for-3 in the discipline, she may not start today, preferring to focus on technical events. You do you, Boo.

  1. Nicole Schmidhofer, Austria
  2. Lara Gut-Behrami, Switzerland
  3. Viktoria Rebensburg, Germany

Downhill, Sunday

It's not the comeback story Americans want. Again, that would be Vonn. But it's still a good one. Ilka Stuhec, of Slovenia, missed all of 2018, including the Olympics with a knee injury. Let's say she defends her world championship downhill title over two Austrians.

  1. Ilka Stuhec, Slovenia
  2. Ramona Siebenhofer, Austria
  3. Nicole Schmidhofer, Austria

Super combined, Friday

I love the super-combined, and there's talk that this may be it for the downhill-slalom program, in favor of parallel slalom of giant slaloms that are more TV friendly.

Bah, humbug.

This is a great event because it's pretty impossible to predict. Usually, the slalomers, even with just one run — the old combined had one downhill and two slaloms — have the advantage.

Therefore, we go with the best slalom skier in the world.

  1. Mikaela Shiffrin, USA
  2. Ragnhild Mowinckel, Norway
  3. Federica Brignone, Italy

Team event, Feb. 12

Sorry, don't like it. It's just another excuse to give Austria a gold medal.

  1. Austria
  2. France
  3. Germany

 

Giant slalom, Feb. 14

I'm just not going with Shiffrin because three gold medals at one Worlds are a big ask. Tony Salier did it in 1956 and also Jean-Claude Killy in 1968, both times when the Olympics doubled as the Worlds. Ted Ligety achieved the triple in 2013 in Schladming, Austria.

We like Mikaela, but we don't want to anger the skiing gods.

  1. Tessa Worley, France
  2. Federica Brignone, Italy
  3. Mikaela Shiffrin, USA

Slalom, Feb. 16

Who do you think?

  1. Mikaela Shiffrin, USA
  2. Petra Vlhova, Slovakia
  3. Frida Hansdotter, Sweden

Men

Super-G, Wednesday

I want to pull the trigger here. Like someone else we know, Norway's Aksel Lund Svindal has announced that Worlds will be his last races. This is the Hollywood ending — Svindal winning and riding off into the sunset.

Worlds rarely do Hollywood, though.

Also, if Austria doesn't win races at Worlds, its press has a nutty.

  1. Vincent Kriechmayr, Austria
  2. Dominik Paris, Italy
  3. Matthias Mayer, Switzerland

Downhill, Saturday

This is probably the best shot for a U.S. Men's Ski Team medal with Bryce Bennett. He's seventh in the downhill standings, an outstanding season, but there are some big names at the top of the board.

  1. Dominik Paris, Italy
  2. Beat Feuz, Switzerland
  3. Vincent Kriechmayr, Austria

Super combined, Monday

Still love this event. Come on, people, keep the super combined. This will also provide an opportunity for Austria's Marcel Hirscher to say at a news conference, "I am shocked I that I won this race," while no one else in the world is surprised.

  1. Marcel Hirscher, Austria
  2. Alexis Pinturalt, France
  3. Marco Schwarz, Austria

Giant slalom, Feb. 15

This is kind of like women's slalom. Who's racing for second? Again, Hirscher will be stunned and amazed to find himself atop the podium. Stop it, Marcel. The act is getting old.

  1. Marcel Hirscher, Austria
  2. Henrik Kristoffersen, Norway
  3. Alexis Pinturault, France

Slalom, Feb. 17

This is where we go with the upset. Hirscher is shockingly the favorite, but three golds in three individual events are a big ask. At least, we're consistent.

  1. Noel Clement, France
  2. Marcel Hirscher, Austria
  3. Daniel Yule, Switzerland.

Medal count projection

G          S          B          T

Austria                        5          2          3          10

France                         2          2          1          5

Italy                            1          2          1          4

Switzerland                0          3          1          4

United States             2          0          1          3

Norway                       0          2          0          2

Germany                    0          0          2          2

Slovenia                      1          0          0          1

Slovakia                      0          1          0          1

Sweden                      0          0          1          1