Norwegian Aksel Lund Svindal during a downhill training at Kitzbühel, 16 January 2018
One left a knee two years ago, the other finished in the net last season: Norwegian Aksel Lund Svindal and Swiss Beat Feuz, both favorites, have an account to settle with the Streif, the mythical and formidable descent of Kitzbühel Saturday.
She spares no one. And everyone dreads it. Svindal and Feuz are no exception. Two years ago the Norwegian walked on the water with 7 successes at the beginning of the season. But this beautiful dynamic had not survived the dizzying Streif: cruciate ligament and meniscus of the affected knee, forced to end his season.
The leader of the + Attacking Vikings + has already won twice the super-G Hahnenkamm (the crest of the rooster, the name of the mountain), but never the descent, only second in 2014 behind the Austrian Hannes Reichlet.
In 2017, Feuz, who was well ahead three-quarters of the way, had finished in the net for having approached too quickly the superelevation leading to the crossing.
– Scandal –
Both men are certainly in shape, with each two wins downhill this season. Svindal, five times world champion, has even climbed all the podiums of the five events so far disputed in the discipline queen.
At Kitzbühel, we certainly change dimension on a slope, extreme from the start, then chaining several technical profiles and jumps.
Swiss Beat Feuz during a downhill training in Kitzbühel, 18 January 2018
The jumps, too high, had created controversy after the first training Tuesday. And it’s the Bernois Feuz, world champion in descent and fresh winner of Wengen (Switzerland), the other great classic of the circuit, which had struck the pride of a whole country with the strong words: „scandal“ and „disaster“.
Reichelt, also a victim of a heavy fall at the 2016 edition and Svindal had for their part, but more politely, called the organization and the International Ski Federation (FIS) to focus on safety.
The hotspots were planed and the second training, played Thursday on the top three quarters of the Streif, to spare the bottom, and a slower coating, has dropped the tension.
– „Limits not to cross“ –
The Hahnenkam offers an extraordinary monument of alpine skiing with this Streif which unrolls its 3.3 km, and its excesses, of which some 40.000 spectators rush the day + D + to commune with all the competitors.
„You have to have a lot of respect for the track, especially during the first training, even for me, this session (Tuesday) was a new experience, and after understanding the track, you can understand the limits you do not have to cross. already know each other well, „said Italian Dominik Paris, who won the downhill in 2013 and 2017, and also won the super-G in 2015.
It is for skiers the highest degree in the exercise of the descent, which puts a strain on physical and mental strength.
Since Luc Alphand in 1997, it escapes the French. Last season Valentin Giraud Moine and Johan Clarey were close, finishing second and third behind the Italian Dominik Paris.
Victim of a serious accident a few days later in the descent of Garmisch-Partenkirchen (Germany), Giraud Moine resumed skiing but not competition. And the + Kitz + podium had helped Clarey, 38 since January 8, extend a sutured knee injury career.
„It was only happiness, the best memory of my career,“ recalls the Tignard, who learned to love the mythical and formidable Streif.
„The track is difficult, watered from top to bottom, it hits, it goes fast and there are big jumps They want the show I do not find it dangerous, I find it demanding“, he said post workout.
And why not another feat?
Friday, January 20: super-G (departure 10:30 GMT)
Saturday 21st January: descent (departure 10h30 GMT)
Sunday, January 22: slalom (first run 09:30 GMT, second at 12:30)