Beaver Creek World Cup: Franz on a roll, wins Birds of Prey super-G
BEAVER CREEK — Austria’s Max Franz is having a good week. It’s not often that two-thirds of one’s career World Cup wins come in seven days.
But Franz — in 1 minute, 1.91 seconds — conquered the snow, poor visibility and the rest of the field on Saturday at the Xfinity Birds of Prey Audi FIS Ski World Cup super-G.
He topped the podium in downhill last weekend in Lake Louise, Alberta, and, before that, his only win had been in Val Gardena, Italy, back in 2016.
“I don’t know,” Franz said. “My skiing is really good. My last days of preparation were not so good. I was a little bit nervous. Lake Louise, I put it all together. Now, I know I’m skiing really good.”
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Switzerland’s Mauro Caviezel is getting pretty comfortable on the second step in Beaver Creek. Second on Friday’s downhill, the Swiss skier was second again on Saturday in 1:02.24.
As for third place, it was rather crowded. Norway’s Aksel Lund Svindal, Italy’s Dominik Paris and Norway’s Aleksander Aamodt Kilde all tied for the bronze at 1:02.32.
And, yes, Birds of Prey organizers did have three bronze medals to distribute to the trio, and, perhaps, more importantly, a surplus of Tincup Whiskey for the expanded podium.
A mistake up top
What was really interesting about Franz’s run is that he appeared to make a seemingly fatal mistake up top on a right turn in Russi’s Ride. He said he took too straight of a line on that turn.
It looked like a mistake, but Franz actually somehow gained time through that stretch and ended up winning by 33-hundredths of a second.
“I have to push. I made a mistake on the top,” Franz said. “The rest of the race was really good.”
Meanwhile, Caviezel is probably lobbying for the rest of the 2018-19 World Cup to stay in North America. He has three of his four career podiums during this year’s Lake Louise-Beaver Creek swing, and his fourth came at World Cup finals in Aspen back in 2017.
“I really don’t know. It’s just great,” Caviezel said. “I don’t know what’s going on. It’s a good feeling and I enjoy it a lot.”
Three’s a crowd
Ties happen on the World Cup. Americans Bryce Bennett and Steven Nyman were deadlocked for ninth place on Friday in the downhill. Birds of Prey spokesman Tom Boyd came up with two three-way ties on the women’s side.
Andrine Flemmen (Norway), Tina Maze (Slovenia) and Nicole Hosp (Austria) tied for the win on Oct. 26, 2002, in the Soelden, Austria, giant slalom. In 2006, Lindsey Vonn, Switzerland’s Nadia Styger and Austria’s Michaela Dorfmeister all won gold in a super-G in Kvifjell, Norway.
There is no record of a three-way tie on the men’s side, but it brings up some Birds of Prey history. Hermann Maier and Lasse Kjus tied for super-G gold at the 1999 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships, with Austria’s Hans Knauss 1-hundredth of a second behind for bronze.
For Svindal, it’s his second bronze in as many days.
“I don’t think we’ve ever had five guys on a podium,” he said. “If we had three guys tied for second, there’d only be four. This is better. We don’t have to fight. Let’s just have a tie and get everyone up here.”
For fellow Norwegian Kilde, Saturday’s bronze was a return to the podium after a concussion to start last season and just a rough go of things recently.
“It’s been ups and down, downs, for sure,” Kilde said. “I’ve just tried to stay positive. Last year, I didn’t have any podiums, but lots of fourth places. The feeling to be back on the podium is really good. Today was one of the days that I felt I was fast.”
And it’s the 23rd World Cup podium — seventh in super-G — for Paris.
“Super-G is always different. You have different courses and different conditions. It was not an easy course. It was very fast at the top.”
Birds of Prey concludes with Sunday’s giant slalom at 9:45 a.m.
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The Italian ended Mikaela Shiffrin’s three-year reign as overall World Cup champion.