Feuz at the double with Kitzbuehel downhill win

Robin GREMMEL
·3-min read
Switzerland's Beat Feuz won the men's downhill in Kitzbuehel

Swiss racer Beat Feuz confirmed his impressive form by speeding to a back-to-back victory in the second World Cup downhill in Kitzbuehel on Sunday.

Feuz also won Friday's crash-marred downhill after four second places in the Austrian resort, and clocked 1min 55.29sec on the 3.3km-long Streif course on the Hahnenkamm mountain to claim the first double Sunday since France's Luc Alphand in 1995.

"I've tried to win this race many times over the years and now I've won twice in one weekend," said Feuz.

"I'm just so happy the races can go ahead in what has been a tough season with the Covid-19 situation."

The squat 33-year-old, who won two medals at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics (super-G silver, downhill bronze) and was world downhill champion in St Moritz in 2017, raced in excess of 145 km/h (90 mph) down what is widely regarded as the most prestigious and demanding race on the World Cup circuit.

France's Johan Clarey, at 40 the elder statesman of the elite skiers, nailed a near-perfect mid-section to take second at 0.17sec, having finished fourth on Friday.

"I had good conditions, but honestly I had a good run," said Clarey.

"It's just that Beat Feuz was supersonic on the final section, he wasn't lacking much in his quest for the Holy Grail."

Last year's winner, home favourite and double Olympic medallist Matthias Mayer, followed up on his second place in the first downhill by coming in third at 0.38sec, paying the price for an error in the final section having led at the midway split time.

Organisers had come in for criticism for failing to have shaved the final jump of the gruelling course on Friday after a wind and crash interrupted race that took nearly three hours and was called off when the top 30 had finished. That left the remaining 25 racers without a start.

Switzerland's Urs Kryenbuehl suffered a concussion, a fractured collar bone and knee ligament damage after overpitching on the jump while Ryan Cochran-Siegle sustained a minor cervical fracture on a course that left Clarey feeling "angry".

- Feuz leapfrogs Mayer -

Feuz's victory, his 15th in the World Cup, sees him take top spot from Mayer in the downhill standings. The Swiss is the reigning three-time title holder in the discipline.

France's Alexis Pinturault, who sat out the two downhills, leads the overall standings.

Pinturault will, however, race in Monday's rescheduled super-G in Kitzbuehel, heralding a full-on week for the technical specialists that sees the famed night slalom in Schladming on Tuesday before two slaloms in the French resort of Chamonix on the weekend.

Norway's Kjetil Jansrud, world downhill champion and Olympic silver medallist in the discipline at Pyeongchang in 2018, won the 2015 downhill in Kitzbuehel but was never in the running, eventually coming in 2.29sec off the pace.

This year's 'white circus' was held without fans. Last season, a whopping 86,500 spectators packed into the stands surrounding the finish area over three days of action.

Flags waving and flares blazing, the supporters lend the spectacle a baying, gladiatorial atmosphere which the daredevil skiers lap up. Thousands more fill the quaint cobbled streets of the Austrian Tyrol town.

But the coronavirus pandemic has put a stop to that.

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