O Canada: Kucera wins super-G
LAKE LOUISE, Alberta – John Kucera of Canada won the season-opening super-G Sunday in temperatures that plunged to minus 11, his first top-10 finish in a World Cup race. Kucera, the first skier out of the start hut, was timed in 1 minute, 29.70 seconds and was followed by Austria’s Mario Scheiber in 1:29.76 and Sweden’s Patrik Jaerbyn in 1:29.98.”I’m just beside myself,” Kucera said. “I don’t think it has sunk in yet.”Austria’s Hermann Maier, who has won four super-G races at Lake Louise, was fourth. The top American was Bode Miller, 14th.
This was Canada’s second podium finish in two days, with Manuel Osborne-Paradis the runner-up in Saturday’s downhill.Kucera skied an aggressive line on the upper middle portion of the 1 1/2-mile track. Snow fell throughout the race, so the course did not get any quicker for the skiers that followed.Kucera dedicated his victory to friend Jason Lapierre, who died at 34 this summer after being hit by a car while biking.”I did it for him,” Kucera said. “I wish he was here.”
He became the first Canadian man to win a World Cup race at Lake Louise in the 11 downhills and seven super giant slaloms held at the course. The only other Canadian man to win at home was Rob Boyd, who captured a 1989 downhill in Whistler, British Columbia.
Miller was timed in 1:31.03 with Steve Nyman, the only other U.S. skier to break into the top 30, finishing 20th (1:31.26) in the bitter cold.”It was chilly out there, but not too bad. It was definitely colder on the racers than coaches standing on the hill,” speed head coach Chris Brigham said. “And it’s supposed to go down to minus 30 (degrees Celsius – about minus 22 Fahrenheit) tomorrow as the women come in (for two downhills and a super-G).”We’ve certainly learned through the years this isn’t a hard hill, but it is hard to ski fast … and it’s very unforgiving. Make one little mistake and you can lose a lot of time, and that means guys get packed in there – 10-12 guys within three-tenths of a second”The men head next to Beaver Creek for the Birds of Prey races, starting Thursday with a super combined and then a downhill Friday, giant slalom Saturday and slalom Sunday.