Monday, January 18, 2016

76 International Hahnenkamm Race (Kitzbühel, Tirol, Austria)

The 76 International Hahnenkamm Race is one of the highlights of the ski racing season. On the weekend of 22 to 24 January 2016 Kitzbühel hosts four events of the Men's Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup: Super G, the famous Downhill on the Streif one of the most demanding runs of the FIS downhill calender, Slalom and Combined. With a total prize money purse of 550,000 Euros and nearly 80,000 spectators expected during the weekend, the Hahnenkanmm races are by known as the most prestigious during the World Cup season. The Kitzbühel races are part of the the Club 5+ Alpine Classics, a union of the leading alpine ski race organizers from all over the world. It was founded 1988 upon an idea of worldcup founder and sports journalist Serge Lang. Charter members had been the “Five” downhill classic sites in the alps”, Gardena/Gröden (ITA), Garmisch (GER), Kitzbühel (AUT), Wengen (SUI), Val d’Isere (FRA).
Kitzbühel is one of Austria's best known and fanciest winter sport resorts. The city is situated along the river Kitzbühler Ache, and the car free historic centre is spectacular with cobbled streets and lovely medieval buildings.The Kitzbühel Ski Paradise located at 800 meters above sea level, is conveniently embedded in the Kitzbüheler Horn, Bichlalm and Hahnenkamm mountain ranges offering 55 modern lifts, managed by the Bergbahn AG Kitzbüheland, serving 170 kilometres of ski runs (91 kilometres snow-covered) for all levels and abilities and 33 kilometres of signed ski routes.For 75 years, the annual Hahnenkamm race in Kitzbühel, Austria, has produced unforgettable triumphs and unspeakable tragedies, a heritage that is full of myths and legends. Nowhere else is skiing celebrated so intensely. The city, the nation, and the entire winter sports world go crazy for the battles that play out on the slopes, and the race down the Streif is the most anticipated event of all - the Superbowl of skiing.This thrilling feature documentary follows four athletes on their 12-month journey leading up to the most important ride of their carreer. Facing an adrenaline high and total loss of control. It gives rare insights into the minds of the athletes and their struggle between risk and reward.
Recently, Kitzbühel was selected as one of the Top 10 Most Beautiful Alpine Ski Resorts by the CNN.

The Hahnenkamm-Race is one of the highlights of the annual ski-racing calendar. Over 40 TV stations cover the race and it is a priceless event that captivates even those who do not usually follow ski racing. Only the best win on the hardest Downhill in the world. The names of past winners read like a who’s who of ski racing, from Killy, Sailer, Schranz, and Collombin, to Klammer, Read, Zurbriggen, Heinzer, Aamodt, Strobl, Maier, Eberharter, Walchhofer, Rahlves and Cuche.
From the breathtaking start at 1665 metres (5465 feet) above sea level, racers plunge down the slope’s vertical drop of 860 m (2822 ft) at speeds up to 150 km/h (93mph), covering the 3312 metres (10,866 feet) of the course in less than two minutes before dramatically crossing the finish line in the spectator-packed finish area. Yet the Hahnenkamm-Races are more than simple statistics, and behind these numbers lies the greatest ski spectacle in the world. The Downhill on Kitzbühel’s almost impossibly difficult slope, the Streif, leaves one continually searching for superlatives that could adequately portray it. The simplest way to describe this drop down the most fearsome slope on the World Cup tour is simply: "The Race". What Wimbledon is for Tennis and Monaco is for Formula 1, "Kitz" is for ski racing.

2015 Races

The 75th edition of the Hahnenkamm Rennen in Kitzbühel couldn’t have had a better opening race. In the morning of January 23rd, an exciting super-G took place on the notorious Streif with Italian Dominik Paris putting down a flawless run and with a time of 1minute, 09.99 seconds earned his first career’s SG victory. It was close to a perfect day for the home team as Matthias Mayer and Georg Streitberger finished in second and third place, 0.06 and 0.34 seconds behind the winning time.

Later, under the floodlights of the slope next to the Streif, 27 skiers from the morning’s Super-G entered a one run slalom to chase the title of 2015 Hahnenkamm Alpine Combined winner.
After a strong super-G run where he finished only 1.47 seconds behind winner Paris, Alexis Pinturault was the favorite for the win and he didn’t disappoint. The Frenchman crossed the finish line 0.69 seconds faster than Hirscher and 0.94 seconds ahead of surprise third place winner Czech Ondrej Bank.

The Kitzbühel downhill is considered the scariest downhill in the world, but that is only until the weather decides otherwise and forces the start to be lowered half the way down the famous Streif.
Despite the general disappointment due to the short downhill, last year race certainly didn't lack in excitement and in the end the winner was the same one as in both full-length training runs – Kjetil Jansrud. The Norwegian who was leading both the super-G and downhill season rankings was once again the man to beat on the Streif as he crossed the finish line a mere 0.02 seconds faster than super-G winner Dominik Paris. In third place, French Guillermo Fayed finished 0.21 seconds behind and earned his second career’s podium.

After a week focused almost entirely on speed, Sunday in Kitzbühel is all about the slalom on the Ganslern.
In the first run, home favorite and 2013 winner Marcel Hirscher treated the crowd to a perfect run which earned him the lead. But in the second run, Mattias Hargin who has been knocking on the door of a podium multiple times this season finally pulled off a perfect second run and went one to achieve his maiden victory. Last year’s winner Felix Neureuther was fifth after the first run but managed to step up his game in the second run to earn his 6th slalom podium of the season.

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