HINTERSTODER, Austria — For weeks, Vincent Kriechmayr played a central role in the promotion campaigns for this weekend’s men’s World Cup races in his native Upper Austria.
On Saturday, the local favourite had all eyes on him again when he won a super-G race, which gave the battle for the overall and discipline titles new impetus.
Opening the race with bib No. 1, Kriechmayr benefited from the best course conditions as mild temperatures had softened the surface. The increasing number of tracks with each racer hampered late starters.
“Usually I sleep like a baby but I couldn’t sleep last night,” Kriechmayr said. “So many people came out to see me, the fan club was here, so you want to perform for them.”
Kriechmayr won the race 0.05 seconds ahead of Mauro Caviezel of Switzerland, who earned his seventh podium result in super-G but is yet to win a race in the discipline.
Kriechmayr’s Austrian teammate Matthias Mayer placed third, another 0.03 behind.
Jack Crawford of Toronto finished a career-best 12th.
“Today I got a little bit lucky with the bib draw and managed to put in a good run,” Crawford said. ”I sent it as hard as I could and the outcome was exactly what I needed to put myself in a good spot to make World Cup finals.”
The leader of the super-G and overall standings before the race, Aleksander Aamodt Kilde, led the field by 0.29 seconds at the first split but the Norwegian crashed as he lost grip while passing a gate in a right turn.
Kilde’s mishap helped Caviezel take a three-point lead over Kriechmayr in the super-G rankings, while the Norwegian dropped to third, trailing by 29 points. The season includes two more super-Gs.
“We are all very close. It will be a close fight for sure,” Kriechmayr said.
And Caviezel added: “It would be great to stay ahead, that’s definitely a goal of mine. But I have to deliver in the races and then we’ll see.”
Kilde remained on top of the overall standings but had his lead over fellow Norwegian Henrik Kristoffersen reduced to 65 points. Alexis Pinturault of France was 74 points behind in third.
Kristoffersen, a slalom and GS specialist, finished 22nd in his first ever World Cup super-G start.
“It’s a pity because I lose a few points but that can happen when you have to take risks,” Kilde said. “My knee hurt a bit but it should be OK for tomorrow.”
Thomas Dressen, who won three downhill races this season, dislocated his shoulder in a crash and will not start in Sunday’s Alpine combined event, the German ski federation said.
The Alpine combined was moved from Friday because of bad weather. As a result, a giant slalom initially scheduled for Sunday was pushed back one day.
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