Mayer breaks into World Cup winner’s circle in super-G at Lake Louise

LAKE LOUISE, Alta. — Matthias Mayer ascended the top step of the World Cup medal podium in Lake Louise, Alta., for the first time in his career after a series of runner-up results.

The reigning Olympic super-G champion from Austria won that race Sunday at the mountain resort edging Italy’s Dominik Paris by four-tenths of a second.

“After four second places I finally got the win,” the 29-year-old said. “Tried to push hard, give everything and fighting for every hundredth of a second. Very happy to see the green light at the finish.”

Paris, the world super-G champion and last season’s World Cup overall champion in the discipline, was second again after the same result in Saturday’s downhill.

“It gives me a lot of confidence to stay close to the other guys,” the Italian said Sunday.

A tie for third for a second consecutive day included Mauro Caviezel of Switzerland and Mayer’s Austrian teammate Vincent Kriechmayr with identical times of 1:31.89.

Brodie Seger of North Vancouver, B.C., salvaged what had been a tough World Cup for the host Canadian team.

The 23-year-old with a No. 57 start bib among 61 racers placed 16th for the weekend’s top result by a Canadian, and Segers’ career best in super-G.

Seger drew a roar from the spectators, while his teammates threw their arms in the air in excitement when he crossed the line.

“That was amazing,” Seger said. “The was the first thing I heard even before I saw the results. When I saw my placing I was so over the moon.”

Super giant slalom, or super-G, combines technical elements of giant slalom and the speed of downhill.

Unlike downhill in which the skiers get training runs prior to the race, one pre-race inspection in the morning is all they’re allowed for super-G.

The top 30 finishers earn prize money and World Cup points on a descending scale. Mayer claimed 45,000 Swiss francs (CDN $60,000) for the victory.

Seger wants to consistently be in the points this season to improve his start position.

Racers ranked in the top 30 have the advantage over the rest of the field of skiing a smoother, more pristine course.

By the time Seger pushed out of the start hut Sunday, the Lake Louise track was chewed up by racers before him.

“I knew it was going to be rough 100 per cent, but one of the things my coach said to me in inspection, we knew there was one turn that was going to be really rough, he said ‘all it is an opportunity for good skiing to prevail,”’ Seger said.

“This is exactly my goal for the whole season and to get it done in this first race makes me feel really good about things going forward. I’ve been skiing well in training, but to finally make it happen, it feels good.”

The women open their downhill season at Lake Louise with races Friday and Saturday followed by Sunday’s super-G.

American ski star Mikaela Shiffrin won Sunday’s women’s slalom and Roni Remme of Collingwood, Ont., was seventh in Killington, Vt.

The men head to Beaver Creek, Colo., for downhill, super-G and giant slalom races starting Friday.

“Confidence is always very important, especially in Beaver Creek,” Mayer said. “Very steep there, difficult downhill and a tough week.”

Toronto’s Jack Crawford placed 39th on Sunday. Ben Thomsen of Invermere, B.C., Calgary’s Jeff Read and Ottawa’s Dustin Cook finished 48th to 50th respectively.

Thomsen battled a sore left knee over the weekend. Cook, a world silver medallist in super-G in 2015, is trying to regain that form.

Thomsen had said prior to the Lake Louise races “I’m feeling big things for Brodie this year.”

“We’ve all been pushing each other extremely hard. It’s not like one person is ahead every day in training,” Seger said. “We’ve been going back and forth all the time.

“We all know we’re skiing at the level where we can all do it. Sometimes it just takes one to give everybody else a little bump. I hope that’s what this can be.”

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