One more time: The super-G
BEAVER CREEK, Colorado ” As they say, once more with feeling, people.
Let’s try this super-G thing one more time. After being snowed out Saturday, the super giant slalom is on for 10 a.m. today.
What story lines will reach their conclusion?
Does Switzerland’s Daniel Albrecht (bib No. 26) win his third this week? Or is it Didier Cuche (No. 18)?
The Austrians have had a bit of a revival this week. Downhill winner Michael Walchhofer is in the No. 23 spot. We also hear that Hermann Maier (16) is pretty good. He has a mere 23 career wins in this discipline. That’s what most skiers call a great career, period.
For example, Bode Miller, whatever you think of him, has an outstanding total of 25 career wins. Speaking of the Americans. Do they climb to the top step of the podium? Miller (21), Steven Nyman (28) and Scott Macartney (30) all have a shot.
Or, does the super-G at Birds of Prey revert to its first-time winner mode? From 2003-05, it’s been a newbie.
Here’s everything you ever wanted to know about the race:
Weather: Weather.com is reporting a high today of 38 degrees, so figure high-20s at Red Tail.
Birds of Prey defending champ: Austria’s Hannes Reichelt (1) in 2005. (We didn’t have a super-G last year.)
Past Birds of Prey champs: Maier (1997 and 1998) Maier and Lasse Kjus (tie, 1999 Worlds), Fredrik Nyberg (2000), Cuche (2002), Bjarne Solbakken (2003) and Stefan Goergl (2004).
Super-G stats: The course starts at 10, 948 feet and heads down to 8,944 feet. That would be a drop of 2,004 feet. The course is 6,165 feet long.
Intervals: Pumphouse, Screech Owl and The Abyss.
Look out in the super-G: The Talon had its way with racers in the downhill as well as the super-combined downhill. This big turn is right out of the gate for super-G. Golden Eagle is less of a problem than it was in training, but still dangerous. But our No. 1 key is whether racers can carry speed into the final gates. Good runs have gone for naught all week after Red Tail.
Homologation number: By special request, we send it out to Associated Press France’s Emmanuel Pionnier. It’s 859/10/07. Enjoy it, Emmanuel.
Americans (bib number): Miller (21), Nyman (28), Macartney (30), Ted Ligety (31), T.J. Lanning (50) and Andrew Weibrecht (53).
By the way: Weibrecht is again racing with the No. 53 bib. We couldn’t make this stuff up. The kid went from No. 53 to 10th in Friday’s downhill.
Favorites: Cuche and Nyman have been the best speed skiers of the week. Walchhofer finally broke through here Friday in the downhill. Don’t bet against Weibrecht the way he’s been skiing this week. We hear Maier’s pretty good in super-G, and Miller is always capable of nailing one.
Dark horses: Scotty Mac finally ran the course Friday, and he’s very comfortable here. We keep on waiting on Italy’s Peter Fill. Canada’s Erik Guay could surprise as well.
Freud: I had Massimiliano Blardone in Sunday’s giant slalom and he finished fourth, while Ian Cropp had Kalle Palander who was a DNF. Score one for your noble sports editor. While I’m on a roll, I take Nyman.
Cropp: The pride of Buffalo takes Cuche.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 748-2934 or firstname.lastname@example.org.