Saturday, February 21, 2015

Austrian Downhill Podium Sweep in Saalbach Hinterglemm


After winning 9 medals at the recently concluded World Championships in Vail Beaver Creek, the Austrian team has been able to keep the momentum going back in Europe as well. At the first post World Championships race in Saalbach, three Austrians topped the downhill race standings on Saturday to the delight of the 10,000 fans cheering along the course.
Not since 1994 have the men raced downhill in Saalbach. The 2015 version of the hill follows an entirely new line up top and intersects with the previous race trail near the bottom, ultimately finishing in essentially the same spot. The Schneekristall, as it turns out, was one of the toughest tests of the season, packed with sharp terrain and big air from top to bottom.
the home team secured the three spots that matter most — Matthias Mayer, Max Franz and Hannes Reichelt sweeping the podium in that order.
The win was Mayer’s first since his downhill gold medal at the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi.
"The light today was, of course, very flat", Mayer explained. "It was much more difficult than the training runs. You couldn’t see the rolls and bumps today. It was really tough, and you had to risk everything".
It’s a particularly sweet victory for Mayer who had been knocking on the door of the top step of the podium multiple times this year.
"I finished second place this year three times, and I was fourth in the super G at World Champs — so I’m very happy about this win today. To be on the podium with two teammates makes this race event more special. It’s an awesome feeling for us today".
Max Franz second place today proved bitter-sweet as he was close to locking his first career’s victory after a great run; but a small mistake in the top section of the course proved costly and the young Austrian completed his run a mere 0.02 seconds slower than Mayer.
"Two hundredths — damn. I didn’t have a very good run up top", said Franz. "I didn’t have a very good first split and that’s where I lost the race today. The last part was really fast".

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