Saturday, January 25, 2014

Hannes Reichelt Takes Victory on the Streif

In one of the most exciting races we have witnessed all season, Austrian Hannes Reichelt took home his first victory on the Streif. The hosting nation has been waiting since 2006 to see a local on top of the podium as, the last Austrian to win this race was Michael Walchhofer eight years ago.
"It was a great race, it’s special for an Austrian to win Kitzbuehel", a very happy Reichelt said. "It’s one of the dreams you have as a young skiracer. But the pressure on me was not too high, I had a great season so far but no victory and I was focused on my skiing. Finding the perfect line and doing what I have done in the past races, avoiding any mistakes especially before the flat section was my plan today. I think I had a perfect run in the end and it paid off", he continued.
Things kept changing quickly today in Kitzbuehel and victories were close to being celebrated a couple of times.
After winning the only disputed training run by almost a second, Bode Miller was the top favorite in today’s race. He skied a great run but made a few mistakes, which ended up costing him the victory. Wearing number 11, Miller crossed the finish line way ahead of the rest of the field, but with most of the top racers still at the start, Miller knew right away his time might not be fast enough for a victory.
"I skied well in the top, I didn’t do anything crazy but I skied well. I carried really good speed down Alte Schneise", Miller explained what happened during his run. "Off the Seidlalm jump I got really good air and I knew I was going and then I just got a little high-sided. It’s one of those mistakes that you really hate to make in downhill. I was almost in my tuck and the ski came underneath me and got rotated and on a long turn there’s nowhere to go; you’re completely stuck on your tail going out of the course on a dead flat. That mistake is just is just too big of a mistake, especially right there where you’re on a flat and then a long traverse and then in to the Larchenschuss and it just cost me way, way too much time. I knew it when I came across the finish line that I’d just wasted another opportunity to win this course. It’s not even so much beating the other guys, but skiing the course the way it’s meant to be skied. That obviously is my number one goal and it’s just really tough", Miller continued.
Still, Miller held on to his lead until Svindal came down seven bibs later beat Miller’s time by 0.13 seconds. For a few minutes it seemed as if that could have been the winning time today Hannes Reichelt ended up messing up Svindal’s plans.
"It’s a tough hill; there is a lot of history and it’s a legendary race because of all the years that this hill has been skied on. I’m happy with second, but for sure you always want to win", Svindal said. "I made a small mistake somewhere between the 3rd and 4th split and I had a feeling that a scenario like this could happen. But I did my best, you can’t do much more than cross the finish line and be in the lead. It was up to the other guys to beat my time and Reichelt did it", Svindal explained.
Reichelt didn’t seem as threat to Svindal as the top section of his run was not among the fastest ones (he clocked only the 17th time on the first intermediate time), but Reichelt picked up the pace in the lower section and with a really strong finish took the lead by 0.21 seconds, making the thousands of cheering fans explode in celebration.

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