Road To The Olympic Games


Didier Defago wins World Cup super-G event

Didier Defago of Switzerland edged Bode Miller by 0.05 seconds to win the World Cup super-G of the classic Hahnenkamm event Sunday in Kitzbuehel, Austria, denying the American a first victory in more than two years.

Swiss skier edges Bode Miller by 0.05 seconds

Didier Defago of Switzerland celebrates his win in the men’s World Cup super-G event Sunday in Kitzbuehel, Austria. (Giovanni Auletta/Associated Press)

Didier Defago of Switzerland edged Bode Miller by 0.05 seconds to win a World Cup super-G on Sunday in Kitzbuehel, Austria , and Alexis Pinturault of France won the super-combined event for his sixth career victory.

With snow falling on a shortened Streifalm course, Defago was the next racer after Miller and timed one minute, 10.38 seconds for his first victory since a downhill in Bormio, Italy, in December 2011.

"The course suits me," said Defago, the 2010 Olympic champion who won the classic Hahnenkamm downhill five years ago. "I was disappointed we had only one training run this week. I love this
course. I fully used my chances today."

Overall World Cup leader Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway and Max Franz of Austria shared third, 0.15 off the lead. The race also counted as the first portion of the super-combined, which added the results of the super-G and a slalom run.

Pinturault posted the fastest time in the floodlit slalom to finish in an aggregate time of 2 minutes, 2.79 seconds. Ted Ligety of the United States was 0.44 back in second, and defending overall champion Marcel Hirscher of Austria was third, 1.47 behind.\

"It's a great result," Pinturault said. "My confidence is building and my skiing gets better and better. That's very positive for the Olympics."

Miller, who led the competition after the super-G as speed specialist Defago skipped the slalom, posted the third-fastest time in slalom but was disqualified for straddling a gate. Svindal of Norway also failed to finish the slalom, leaving Hirscher the chance to close the gap in the overall standings to 102 points. The next event is the night slalom in Schladming, where Svindal won't compete.

Hirscher was 1.53 off the lead after the super-G but attacked his slalom throughout to make the podium.

Canadian Pridy likely secures Olympic spot 

Morgan Pridy, of Whistler, B.C., likely qualified for the Canadian Olympic team headed to Sochi in February.

Pridy, 23, finished with a career-best 21st place in the super-G event, which should be enough to get him on the Olympic team. He ultimately ended up 24th following the slalom portion of the super-combined event.

“I’m really happy I was able to come down in the last qualification race and ski fast,” said Pridy. “If I end up going to Sochi I’m glad I was able to do it based on this result as opposed to coaches’ discretion. It would be an awesome opportunity.

“I feel like this result is where I should be. It’s not a breakthrough so much, as confirmation that I’ve been training fast and can race fast as well. Now it’s a matter of learning to do it every weekend.”

Calgary’s Jan Hudec, who returned from a back injury, didn’t qualify for the slalom run. Other Canadians who didn’t make the slalom race include: Jeffrey Frisch, of Mont-Tremblant, Que., Vancouver’s Manuel Osborne-Paradis, Dustin Cook, of Lac-Sainte-Marie, Que., Ben Thomsen, of Invermere, B.C., Whistler, B.C.’s Conrad Pridy, and Phil Brown of Toronto.

Thomsen secured an Olympic spot on Saturday. The rest of the Canadian team will be announced Monday afternoon.

Super-G delayed

Earlier Sunday, organizers delayed the super-G for three hours due to snowfall and lowered the start because of strong winds. 

Defago missed the season following his Olympic title after tearing ligaments in his left knee. He hadn't been on a World Cup podium since his win in Bormio.

However, getting top-10s in three downhills this season, including last week in Wengen and Saturday in Kitzbuehel, were signs of a return to form with the Sochi Olympics looming.

"It's yet unclear if I am really going to retire," said the 36-year-old Defago, who had earlier hinted this Olympic season might be his last. "When I see I can still race this good then it becomes a difficult decision."

This weekend's World Cup races were the last before nations have to name their squads for the Sochi Olympics.

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