Kroell wins DH in Kvitfjell
Kvitfjell, Norway (Sports Network) - Austria's Klaus Kroell celebrated the most meaningful victory of his 10 years on the World Cup Saturday at Kvitfjell, dominating all his rivals in the last downhill race of the season prior the Finals at Schladming. A day after sharing first place in the opening super-G here with Switzerland's Beat Feuz, the soon 32-year-old came in a mere two hundredths of a second ahead of Norway's impressive Kjetil Jansrud while Aksel Lund Svindal was a solid third, nearly half a second behind them.
This third season win - his second in downhill after his triumph last month at Chamonix, in France - moved him up into first place in the downhill standings with an advance of 48 points on Switzerland's Didier Cuche, who finished a far 10th this time, while Feuz is now third with a deficit of 51 points on the leader.
50 POINTS MORE FOR BEAT FEUZ
Yet it was not too bad a day for Beat Feuz as he increased his lead in the Overall standings on Marcel Hirscher, adding an extra 50 points to his total with his fourth place. He has a good chance to leave Norway with more than a 100-point lead on the young Austrian with another good performance in Sunday's Super-G. He will start that race with an advance of 55 points on Hirscher, who has been watching today's competition at home, where he has been relaxing before the next tech events in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, in a week.
Kroell, who won his first World Cup downhill on the �Olimpiabakken' course three years ago, was particularly proud to have been able to be faster than Jansrud who was crushing all the other racers here earlier this week during the two practice runs. "I watched him at the start and was very impressed by his performance, he skied perfectly and seemed out of reach for us," the Austrian told the press after his run. "The conditions were awesome today, the snow was hard and you really need to hang in there to stay on the fastest line. I really like that place and feel very confident each time I come down this slope," he also said. "This is my seventh podium finish here and I'm looking forward to come back here in the coming seasons."
"Fortunately for me, I nailed to bottom part perfectly, it's really amazing to win with such a small margin and to be now in the lead in the downhill standings. It has been my main goal at the season start and I executed my plan perfectly today. It's a great advantage to be in the lead just before the Finals and defend my position on home soil in front of my friends and fans, said Kroell, who lives less than half an hour drive away from Schladming.
"Nobody from us has actually skied on the new 'Planai' run that will be used next year for the 2013 FIS Worlds, but I know it's a challenging course with some nice jumps at the start and steep sections at the bottom. I'm looking forward to check it in ten days or so."
JANSRUD WAS PLEASED
Even though he once again missed his first ever World Cup win by a couple hundredths of a second - five in total with Friday's Super-G - Kjetil Jansrud was not too disappointed to finish again just behind the winner.
"Two podiums finishes in the speed events within 24 hours is pretty exciting, it's more than I have expected coming here earlier this week," he explained. "I did my best and gave again all what I had in me today. To reach the podium in downhill in front of my fans and friends is really good. Now I hope to have just a little more luck tomorrow."
While Didier Cuche had a hard time today finding his best rhythm on the much harder course, Feuz had to fight with a laden left knee on his way down the run after feeling a slight shock while touching the now harder than planned course at the end of the first jump situated at the upper part of the course. "Suddenly I felt sort of a electrical shock and it worried me a lot, I didn't dare to ski with full pressure on my left leg afterwards," Feuz explained. "It was tough for my confidence so I'm pretty happy to have scored such a good result despite that handicap. I hope things will improve for tomorrow after receiving some therapy later on today. I certainly would like to fight for more big points tomorrow. I'll do my best as usual but I don't feel any pressure, the season has been wonderful for me, I'm very excited to be in the hunt for the Overall title a week only prior the Finals. I have achieved way more than I thought at the start of the season."
SVINDAL'S AIMING FOR MORE
In Sunday's last super-G prior the Finals in Austria, Aksel Lund Svindal will try to achieve another strong performance to successfully defend his lead in the specialty standings. The 2010 super-G Olympic Champion was happy to have reached his first podium in 2012 after having accumulated plenty of other top-10 finishes since his podium finish at Val Gardena in December.
"It's a good feeling to be back on the podium after claiming so many fourth, fifth and sixth places in past months. I'm also very happy to share this podium with Jansrud today," said the Norwegian star who won the opening SG race at Lake Louise back in November. "It's a nice boost for my confidence before tomorrow's crucial race. It's not a good feeling to have specialists as Didier Cuche in your neck in the standings so I would appreciate skiing as well again tomorrow.
In fact, Cuche, the defending super-G World Cup champion, is only two points behind Svindal after Friday's competition in which he finished fourth, only 0.10 seconds behind the winners and 0.07 ahead of Svindal.
Yet Klaus Kroell feels able to achieve the 'Hat-Trick' here winning his third races in as many days, a performance that only Italy's Alberto Tomba was able to achieve in his great years. "There is nothing more motivating than to keep on winning, I feel very relaxed now and ready for even more now," commented Kroell at the post-race press-conference. "It would be nice to also move-up in the Super-G standings here."
Beat Feuz sits in third place in super G, 25 points behind Svindal. But all eyes will be on Kjetil Jansrud, who has come twice so close to his first World Cup triumph.
OFFICIAL RESULTS - Kvitfjell, Norway
1. Klaus Kroell, AUT, 1:45.76; 2. Kjetil Jansrud, NOR, 1:45.78; 3. Aksel Lund Svindal, NOR, 1:46.24; 4. Beat Feuz, SUI, 1:46.42; 5. Dominik Paris, ITA, 1:46.63; 6. David Poisson, FRA, 1:46.64; 7. Carlo Janka, SUI, 1:46.82; 8. Adrien Theaux, FRA, 1:46.91; 9. Benjamin Thomsen, CAN, 1:47.07; 10. Didier Cuche, SUI, 1:47.08.
Other North Americans
12. Erik Guay, CAN, 1:47.12; 19. Robbie Dixon, CAN, 1:47.49; 30. Travis Ganong, USA, 1:47.06; 35. Marco Sullivan, USA, 1:48.32; 38. Morgan Pridy, CAN, 1:48.52; 41. Andrew Weibrecht, USA, 1:48.57; 45. Dustin Cook, CAN, 1:49.01; 52. Conrad Pridy, CAN, 1:49;52; 59. Tommy Ford, USA, 1:50.80; 60. Kelby Halbert, CAN, 1:50.82.
DID NOT START 1ST RUN
Thomas Biesemeyer, USA
DID NOT FINISH 1ST RUN
Erik Fisher, USA
03/03 15:29:25 ET