Cortina D’Ampezzo, 14 February (MOREL)- Vincent Kriechmayr (AUT) completed a brilliant speed double at the Cortina 2021 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships on Sunday, adding the men’s downhill gold to the super-G title he won on Thursday. Prior to the competition, the Austrian had not won a major Alpine skiing title. Now he has two in four days – and becomes only the third racer to win both men’s speed events at the same world championships, following in the tracks of Herman Maier (AUT, 1999) and Bode Miller (USA, 2005).
Kriechmayr was the first man out the gate and was smooth on the dry, aggressive snow of the Vertigine, which derailed so many of his major rivals. “I’m really proud,” he said. “I had my medal [from the super-G] and I wanted to show my best. I wanted a second medal of course, but gold is amazing. “It was a difficult race, it was not perfect. I lost a lot of time on the last part of the race. But I was pretty fast in the middle.”Asked about matching Maier and Miller, he said: “They are both legends, of course. In every discipline I was a fan of these two guys. And to be on the same step – I’m not a legend like these guys, but I’m proud about today.”
In another strange reflection of Thursday’s super-G, Kriechmayr’s gold was followed by an unexpected German silver medal. Andreas Sander (GER) also looked very comfortable, as he came in an agonising 0.01 second behind.It was the result of a lifetime for the 31-year-old, who has been on the World Cup circuit for 12 season but never broken the top ten in downhill overall, or the top 30 overall rankings. “I was really happy and had a good feeling at the start,” Sander said. “I felt in shape, I felt good. I felt, ‘You can do it, maybe you can surprise’. I felt it at the start. I’m super happy.”Sander had been second out the gate, and the course became more difficult as the morning progressed. Pre-race favourite Beat Feuz (SUI) got the bronze and might have won but for losing some speed in the middle section.
There was disappointment elsewhere for Kriechmayr’s Austrian teammates – and the host nation. Matthias Mayer (AUT) missed a gate on the traverse, while Max Franz (AUT) also struggled.
Christof Innerhofer (ITA) was pleased with sixth position, but Dominik Paris (ITA), who had been setting the fastest times in training on this course, came joint-fourth – missing the podium by one place having finished fifth in the super-G. “It’s a tricky part, for sure, and I had to do very well [to recover],” said Paris on the section of the course that perhaps denied him a downhill medal. “In the end, I had the mistake there and I lost a lot of time.” The men’s racing continues tomorrow with the Alpine combined. (ends)