Calgary, Alta. (December 2, 2016) – The Audi FIS Alpine World Cup speed circuit is off! Athletes are racing down pitches faster than cars drive on highways and flying over 50 metres in the air. The action has started and the Canadian Ski Team is in the mix with the fastest skiers on the planet.
Lake Louise Alpine Ski World Cup
Tucked into the Canadian Rocky Mountains, the women speed demons ran the first of two downhill races today at Lake Louise. The Canadian roster of four women is not only the largest we’ve had in a few years, it’s also easily the youngest. Quebec’s Valérie Grenier is the team veteran at the young age of 20. Today’s race marked her sixth World Cup downhill start, as well as her first top-30 finish with a 28th-place.
“I’m a little disappointed with today’s result after doing so well in the training runs but my goal was a top 30 finish and I achieved that,” said Grenier. “I know I have more in me and I put a lot of pressure on myself today. I’m looking forward to tomorrow and I’ll be looking for a better result!”
Also pushing out of the start gate today was Ontario’s Candace Crawford. Today’s downhill was Crawford’s first World Cup downhill. After three days of training runs, her confidence is building and there’s a hunt to find more speed. The 22-year-old finished 49th in today’s downhill.
“Today was good!” said Crawford. “I was a little nervous and I’m really hoping the sun comes out for tomorrow’s downhill. Each run I’m feeling more and more comfortable with being uncomfortable and the more miles I put in, the better it feels. I’m ready to rip tomorrow and I’m excited for the super-G Sunday!”
Development Team athlete, Stefanie Fleckenstein, had her first World Cup start in front of a home crowd at today’s race, and with just seven career downhill runs under her belt, finishing today’s race was the goal. Achieving that goal, Fleckenstein finished in 51st.
Today’s podium was a surprise, with the winning run put down by Slovakia’s Ilka Stuhec who claimed her career-first podium in a time of 1:45.48 wearing bib number 29. Also coming from a later start position to land on the podium was Italia’s Sofia Goggia who finished in second-place with bib number 28. Sweden’s Kajsa Kling rounded out the podium finishing in third-place, 0.31 seconds back from the first-place time.
The women will race a second downhill at Lake Louise tomorrow pushing limits even further as they continue to gain confidence on the track.
Val d’Isère World Cup
The men’s speed teams also kicked off their season today in Val d’isère, France. Today’s super-G marked the start of the season and Canada’s roster was mix of veteran athletes and young talent. This track has been kind to Canadians in the past and well suited to some of the team’s veterans, with both Erik Guay and Manuel Osborne-Paradis finishing on the podium in 2007.
The Canadian speed men had a great start to the season, with two men in the top-15. Former super-G Crystal Global winner, Erik Guay, kicked off the season with an 11th-place finish, just .05 out of the top ten and 1.17 seconds out of first-place.
Dustin Cook was finally back in the super G start gate today after missing out on last season due to injury. The 2015 World Championship super-G silver medalist started his season off with a 13th-place result, 1.22 seconds out of first-place.
Erik Read, the 2015-16 Nor-Am Cup overall champion earned himself a start in today’s race and bettered his bib number by finishing in 40th-place. Read was just 0.22 seconds from a top 30 finish.
The Norwegian Vikings went one, two on the podium today with Kjetil Jansrud putting down the fastest time of 1:21.66 and Aksel Lund Svindal 0.17 seconds behind Jansrud. Rounding out the podium was Italy’s Dominik Paris 0.41 seconds back from first-place.
The men are back on the same track for a downhill tomorrow. Erik Guay closed out the downhill training runs Thursday with a first-place finish putting all eyes on him out of the gate tomorrow.
Canadian Ladies’ Downhill Results
28 – Valérie Grenier
49 – Candace Crawford
51 – Stefanie Fleckenstein
DNS – Mikaela Tommy
Full results here.
Canadian Men’s Downhill Results
11 – Erik Guay
13 – Dustin Cook
37 – Manuel Osborne-Paradis
40 – Erik Read
DNF – Trevor Philp
Full results here.
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