Outstanding conditions in Kvitfjell for DH, SG
Round 2 of the three-weekend battle for the World Cup overall title between Bode Miller and Austrian superstar Hermann Maier will be staged on an even playing field over the weekend – the 1994 Olympic speed run north of Lillehammer in Kvitfjell, Norway.
The men are scheduled to race downhill Saturday on the three-kilometer Olympiabakken downhill course and then super-G Sunday. Heading into the weekend, Miller, with six wins this season, is in first place by eight points over Maier, who has won four times, 1,084-1,076.
Six races remain in the season, including the two this weekend and four during World Cup Finals March 10-14 in Sestriere, Italy.
Outdoor Life Network will televise same-day coverage of Saturday’s race at 5 MST.
“Conditions are really good,” U.S. downhill/super-G head coach John McBride said Thursday after the second of three training runs.
“It looks like we’ll have three training runs for the first time this season, and that’s good. This is a tough course and with the snow they’ve had (filling in dips in the run), there’s a little less terrain than we’ve seen for a while.
“But the surface is hard, it’s injected (with water to stabilize the snow and make it icy hard) and it’s definitely got its high-speed sections. I don’t think it favors anyone. There are some critical sections going from the steeps to the flats, at least three of ’em … it’s world class.”
In the first two training runs on Olympiabakken, Miller was 27th and 44th; Maier was ninth and 50th. The temperature Thursday was in the upper single digits and, the coach said, the weather was expected to continue sunny and cold through the weekend.
The U.S. Ski Team will have four starters each day – Miller, Daron Rahlves – No. 3 in World Cup downhill standings and a winner here in two downhills and top-5 twice in super G; Bryon Friedman, who’s looking to clinch a spot in the World Cup Finals (which go to the top-25 in any discipline plus the world junior champion);
“I know the spotlight’s on Bode and Hermann,” McBride said, “But, I wouldn’t overlook someone like ‘D’ this weekend. He’s done well here and that’s got to count for something, right?”