Super-G kicks off Saturday at 11 a.m. in Beaver Creek
BEAVER CREEK, Colorado ” How does one top Friday’s downhill with Norway’s Aksel Lund Svindal returning to the site of his crash last year and winning?
Somehow, Birds of Prey always finds a way to do it, and so we move to today’s super-G at 11 a.m. Ours is not to question. In fact, our job is watch all this unfold. Pretty cool, huh?
OK, trivia time ” six racers have two wins or more at Birds of Prey. You should be able to get four ” Hermann Maier, Bode Miller, Daron Rahlves and now Svindal. Now, don’t forget Switzerland’s Daniel Albrecht who did the double last year with the super combined and the giant slalom.
But who’s the sixth?
Poor Hannes Reichelt.
With everyone associated with Birds of Prey ” ourselves included ” saying, “Hermann, Bode, Daron, and Hermann some more,” few remember that Reichelt actually has won this event the last two times it’s been contested.
In 2005, he ran early ” and maybe, he benefited from the start position because a storm moved in ” but it was his first Cup win. After a one-year absence, the super-G was back in 2007 and so was Reichelt.
On a postcard-like sunny day, he started No. 1, put down a time, went to the hot seat and got comfortable there, very comfortable. His time of 1 minute, 19.87 seconds stood all day for win No. 2.
And, by the way, Reichelt got a nice big globe for winning the World Cup super-G last year. You might want to check the kid out. He’s wearing bib No. 18 today.
Here are some more notes on today’s race:
Weather: Weather.com says 36 degrees and sunny, so break out the shorts.
Birds of Prey super-G champs: Maier (1997, 1998); Maier and Lasse Kjus (tie, 1999 Worlds); Fredrik Nyberg (2000), Didier Cuche (2002), Bjarne Solbakken (2003), Stefan Goergl (2004) and that Reichelt guy (2005, 2007).
Super-G stats: As opposed the downhill, the racers start lower on the mountain just after The Brink at 10,948 feet. It drops 2,004 feet to Red Tail. The course is 6,165 feet long.
Intervals: Pumphouse, Golden Eagle and The Abyss.
Look out in the super-G: Most of the field has to be looking at Screech Owl. Miller certainly was after his fall in Friday’s downhill. Golden Eagle was also a launching pad Friday.
Americans (bib number): Marco Sullivan (2), Miller (9), Steve Nyman (29), Ted Ligety (32), Erik Fisher (42), Kevin Francis (43), Andrew Weibrecht (44), Scott Macartney (46) and T.J. Lanning (52).
Favorites: Um, Reichelt? Maier’s only won 24 super-Gs in his career, so he’s kind of good. Svindal, Marco Buechel and Erik Guay have to be liking life after Friday. And watch out for his Bode-ness. Miller is totally capable of coming back from his downhill DNF and nailing one here.
Dark horses: Marco Sullivan has plenty of potential to make his green-hatted fan section happy. John Kucera of Canada was second last week in Lake Louise, Alberta. Christoph Gruber is definitely in the mix and so is just about anyone wearing Austrian red and white. Last year, they swept the podium.
Staff picks ” Friday’s pick and finish
Ian Smith, sports writer: Michael Walchhofer, fifth
Chris Freud, sports editor: Nyman, seventh.
Austin Richardson, Web editor: Cuche, 15th.
Staff picks for today
Smith: Reichelt ” Ian Smith’s apparently been paying attention.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 748-2934 or email@example.com.