Shock win for No. 41 starter Cater in World Cup downhill; Canadian injured in crash
Cameron Alexander needed to be helped off the course on a sled in Val d'Isere
Long after most broadcasters had switched to other programs, unheralded No. 41 starter Martin Cater won the first downhill of the World Cup season on Sunday.
The television networks had a point. The 27-year-old Slovenian's career-best result was eighth in his 38 previous World Cup downhills and he seemed unlikely to disturb an already unexpected 1-2 finish.
WATCH | Martin Cater victorious by 0.22 seconds in downhill opener:
Instead, Cater raced down in bright sunshine under clear blue skies in the French Alps to seal an even more shocking podium result.
"For me it was a really good run but I didn't believe it," said Cater, who was 0.22 seconds faster than Otmar Striedinger to deny the Austrian his first career win.
Canadian skier Cameron Alexander needed to be helped off the course on a sled after crashing out on Sunday.
WATCH | Cameron Alexander crashes during Val d'Isere downhill:
Jeffrey Read of Canmore, Alta., was the top Canadian, finishing 26th. Toronto's James Crawford was 44th, Benjamin Thomsen of Invermere, B.C., 47th and Broderick Thompson of Whistler, B.C., 52nd.
🚨 In the points 🚨 Today in Val d’Isère Jeff Read, whose dad Ken won the race in 1975, had his first taste of World Cup points when he finished in 26th. 👏 Jeff!<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CANskiteam?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#CANskiteam</a> <a href="https://t.co/kyDhHx4MCY">pic.twitter.com/kyDhHx4MCY</a>—@Alpine_Canada
Urs Kryenbuhl was third, 0.27 back, after the little-known Swiss seemed set for his debut win after being fastest of the top 20-ranked racers. He had a single top-10 result in his 41 career World Cup races.
Both Striedinger and Kryenbuhl must have earlier thought victory was theirs, and both had taken part in a brief victory ceremony that World Cup organizers always stage after the top-30 downhill racers complete their run.
Those now outdated photographs included the defending World Cup overall champion, Aleksander Aamodt Kilde, who was pushed down to fourth by Cater's surprise success.
Beat Feuz and Dominik Paris, the most prolific downhill racers in recent years, placed sixth and 10th, respectively.
Defending World Cup downhill champion Feuz clocked the fastest speed-check at 116 kph (72mph) after losing time going wide at a turn in the mid-section.
American racer Ryan Cochran-Siegle was fastest of all on the bottom half of the course, yet trailing 0.81 behind the winning time was good for only 13th place.
Though Cater enjoyed excellent snow conditions and visibility starting his run just after midday, the sun had lit up the three-kilometre Oreiller-Killy course from the beginning.
The downhill was moved back one day from its scheduled slot to seek better weather. A super-G run Saturday amid light snowfalls and fog was won by another first-time winner, 32-year-old Mauro Caviezel of Switzerland.
With files from CBC Sports