Friday, January 27, 2017

Travis Ganong Wins Downhill at Garmisch-Partenkirchen


Friday’s race in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, was a make-up race for the canceled men’s competition in Wengen, Switzerland, and meant that the athletes only took one training run on the formidable slope. The schedule shake-up seems to have suited the U.S. Ski Team’s Travis Ganong as he took the win with a final time of 1:53.71, 0.38 seconds ahead of Norwegian Kjetil Jansrud and 0.52 seconds ahead of Italian Peter Fill.
The Kandahar course was relentless. Covered in dark shadows, the men were challenged to ski technical sections and handle the changing terrain as well as the demanding jumps. More than one athlete was helicoptered off the hill, falling victim to the mountain’s might. It’s exactly the type of slope that played to the winner’s strengths.
Travis Ganong’s success makes a lot of sense when you consider his knack for tackling dark, shadowy slopes. His only other World Cup win was in Santa Caterina, Italy, in 2014, which is an equally challenging venue. It's the first time, an American racer won the Kandahar downhill in Garmisch.
"I think it was so difficult because we only had one training run, and during the training, it was really slow. Everything skied really easy, and everyone kind of relaxed like ‘Oh, this is really easy,’ and then today, the speeds were way faster", he explained. "…They injected a section for the giant slalom race on Sunday, but they didn’t inject the whole course, so you’d hit that little patch of ice on every turn and accelerate, and I think that was a big issue today. Also, people pushing really hard, and turning off jumps. That’s never a good thing to have your ski bent when you go off a jump, and you could see that on the jump there at the bottom. It was throwing people all over the place, and it was really big
More familiar to the World Cup podium is Kjetil Jansrud, who has been in the mix six times this season in three different disciplines.
"I have to be satisfied now, coming in from Kitzbuehel", Jansurd said. "It was bad weekend for me with a lot of mistakes, and today I made mistakes, too, but a lot of people does, and I think the only one that didn’t was Travis and his win’s well deserved".
This result puts Jansrud in the lead in the men’s downhill standings with 202 points, eking out a three-point lead over the day’s third-place finisher, Fill. The Italian, who won the 2016 World Cup downhill globe, has had one other downhill podium finish this season, earning second place in Val d’Isere, France. He was not completely satisfied with his run, though he was happy to be on the podium.
"I made a big mistake in the lower part and lost a lot of time there, but today was not easy", Fill said. "A lot of guys was having trouble around the course, and it was really not an easy run".

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