Skier Reichelt earns 5th career World Cup win
Austrian Hannes Reichelt won a World Cup super-G race for his fifth career victory Saturday, while American Bode Miller finished third in Hinterstoder, Austria.
Reichelt mastered the demanding Hannes Trinkl course in one minute, 43.91 seconds to beat teammate Benjamin Raich by 0.34. Miller, who won the last super-G staged here in 2006, was the fastest starter before finishing 0.93 back in third.
"It's my first win in front of a home crowd in Austria, that's fantastic," said Reichelt, the 2008 World Cup super-G champion.
Miller had a blistering start to his run. The American led Reichelt by 0.50 at the second intermediate time before losing speed in the middle part. He skipped last week's the event in Chamonix, France.
"It was a tactical race and I was trying hard," Miller said. "I went to the limits but it didn't feel good. I am fine, I have no pain anywhere. But I felt a little bit awkward on the skis."
Reichelt wasn't clean at the upper section of the 2.1-kilometre course, which was set with an unusual amount of short, sharp turns, almost making it look like a giant slalom course.
Reichelt lost time when he went well wide in a left curve, then had a flawless race the rest of the way.
"I was very surprised that I was so fast," he said. "I found no rhythm from the start, I know you can go a lot faster there."
Reichelt is the third Austrian after Georg Streitberger and Michael Walchhofer to win a super-G this season. The victory earned him a starting berth for the worlds, which begin Tuesday in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany.
"I tried to forget about having to qualify," Reichelt said. "If you put yourself under too much pressure, things are likely to go completely wrong."
Miller failed to win a medal at the 2009 world championships and wants to rectify that with a place on the podium.
"I have the speed to win, but there are a lot of variables," said Miller, who has previously won gold in four different disciplines. "You have to take a lot of risk to win."
Ivica Kostelic of Croatia took fifth to extend his lead in the overall standings over Silvan Zurbriggen of Switzerland, who skipped the race. Kostelic leads Zurbriggen by 520 points.
The course was set by Norway speed coach Ulf Emilsson, though it did not help Aksel Lund Svindal much. The former overall champion was 1.61 seconds behind and finished 14th.
Georg Streitberger still leads the super-G standings. However, the Austrian has been ruled out for the rest of the season after surgery on his fractured left shinbone following a crash last week in Chamonix, France.
Streitberger has 227 points, followed by Switzerland's Didier Cuche and Kostelic, tied at 191.
Cuche, who was the 2009 world super-G champion, finished 2.32 off the winning time after a sloppy run in which he skied almost off the course in the upper part and misjudged several turns afterward.
"I must admit that I did almost everything wrong today," said Cuche, who criticized the start number system at super-G races. "The best racers always get disadvantaged as they start between 16 and 22. Obviously, the best conditions are for starters 8 to 15. It's not easy always having to fight from behind."
The course, where skiing great Hermann Maier competed in his first World Cup race in 1996, is named after 2001 world downhill champion Hannes Trinkl.
The giant slalom on Sunday will be the final World Cup racebefore the worlds.