Two of the biggest stars of the HEAD World Cup Rebels team very nearly pulled off the big one: winning on the Streif in Kitzbuehel. This is the biggest race of the season and first Bode Miller captured the crowd’s attention and then he was beaten by Aksel Lund Svindal. It took a super human effort by Hannes Reichelt to be the first Austrian to win the race since 2006.
Miller knows how to ski the Streif. He explained after the race that of all the times he has skied the course, the training run leading up to the race was one of the best runs he has done. With two mistakes at the top of the course, Miller admitted he nearly stopped and had to focus hard to make it to the bottom. Although he took the lead, he felt that it would not be enough to take the win.
After the race he explained: “Lot of years I have been ready to win and have a good chance and I have come away with nothing.” He continued: “I have been progressing through the season, coming back from a year away and I had a lot of expectations, I put pressure on myself to perform today. I was pretty clean at top, clean through Alte Schneise, what I thought was the last dangerous place for me.” The mistake made him feel “bummed out.” He continued saying that it was a really painful place to make a mistake.
Svindal has been the man to beat all season on the Downhill scene yet when he passed the midway split with a deficit to Miller of approaching eight tenths of a second, this was unusual. By the next split the deficit had gone and Svindal was closing in on Miller’s time. We had a race on! Svindal took the lead but he too felt that having made too many mistakes in unusual places, it would not be enough for the win; a win he craves.
“I knew my run was good but there were a few sections that were not good enough, I had the feeling at Hausberg, my ski stuck and I was off balance: You cannot afford to make these mistakes,” Svindal explained.
Not since 2006 had an Austrian won in Kitzbuehel yet after the race Rainer Salzgeber, Racing Manager for the HEAD World Cup Rebels, was happy to have two of the biggest stars on the podium. “Kitzbuehel is always a special race and we want to win it but Bode did an unbelievable race with that mistake at Seidlealm and Aksel was fighting a little too much. In the end though we have to be happy to have two on the podium.”
It has been a good weekend so far for Svindal and he has been able to cement his lead in both the Overall and the Downhill Crystal Globes with his first podium in Kitzbuehel.
1. Hannes Reichelt (AUT)
2. Aksel Lund Svindal (NOR) HEAD
3. Bode Miller (USA) HEAD
9. Kjetil Jansrud (NOR) HEAD
11. Matthias Mayer (AUT) HEAD
12. Ben Thomsen (CAN) HEAD
13. Johan Clarey (FRA) HEAD
15. Stephan Keppler (GER) HEAD
18. Guillermo Fayed (FRA) HEAD
23. Hans Olsson (SWE) HEAD
28. Jeffrey Frisch (CAN) HEAD