Janka Edges Cuche For DH Win; Miller Fourth
The Swiss men’s team is on fire in this early part of the World Cup tour. At Beaver Creek, Colorado, in America’s only downhill, Carlo Janka and Didier Cuche went one-two on the Birds of Prey Downhill just two hundredths apart and two hundredths ahead of Aksel Lund Svindal, a three time winner at Beaver Creek.
The Amazing Bode Miller showed he is starting to round into shape after a summer devoid of training by placing fourth despite a run that was labeled “Classic Bode,” in the press corral as he regained position on course after several mistakes.
“Mistakes,” he said, “are acceptable if you are pushing it.”
Again Andrew Weibrecht skied well above his ranking moving from the 47th start to finish 11th as the second best American.
He said he got a great course report from teammate Marco Sullivan. “He said it was ripable,” Weibrecht said. “I just had a good run, tried to ski solid, tried to ski within myself, and didn’t have any major mistakes.”
The result moved Weibrecht into the top 15 of the World Cup overall standings.
The winner of two of the training runs here, Michael Walchhofer of Austria, could do no better than fifth.
It was a tough day for the Canadians with Robbie Dixon failing to finish, Louis-Pierre Helie not starting with Manuel Osborne-Paradis and Erik Guay finishing well down the finish order in 28th and 29th respectively.
The Swiss, and Janka and Cuche in particular, have had an enviable set of early season races. The two went one-three in the opener in Soelden, an Oct. 25 GS, and matched the result in the Lake Louise downhill a weekend ago. In both of those races, though, it had been Cuche in front. At Beaver Creek the younger Janka has turned the tables, winning the combined on Friday and now edging Cuche in the downhill.
Cuche scoffed at the idea he was teaching Janka, a dozen years younger, the World Cup ropes.
“I’m sure he doesn’t need to learn something from me, Cuche said. “He has such instinct. He has it in the blood. I told him in the finish I would like to go back ten year and have the same god’s gift.”
Janka said he had gotten a boost of confidence from his win in the combined on Friday. “I saw yesterday that I can be fast on the downhill,” said Janka. “I’m happy with the run and now I’m on the podium again on the top step and I’m really happy with that.”
Svindal said his run had been very clean, with just “a small mistake at the bottom but it’s a tight race so the time I lost there was too much.”
Had he been five hundredths faster he would have been first and not third.
While conditions were spot-on perfect, the mighty Birds of Prey caused some long hours in the wax rooms as skiers tried to find a set up that would work over the steep, fast track.
Miller said the Beaver Creek snow was “really dense and unusual. Not icy, but really heavy and hard and a lot of our set-ups weren’t right for it.”
He said he switched both skis and boots “every run,” and during the week of training, an indicator of the amount of work put into the race by the tech reps.
Miller said he is still working his way into shape, adding it becomes more difficult when racing is taking up most of his time. “Every season you have different feelings.different situations. Right now it’s fun and training has been great, so … ”
Miller photo by Julie Shipman
Weibrecht photo by Julie Shipman