Austria’s Striedinger wins first training run at Beaver Creek World Cup races

Chris Freud
Vail Daily
Austria's Vincent Kriechmayr flies down the cours during Day 1 of downhill training on Wednesday, Nov. 28 at Beaver Creek. Kriechmayr, the defending Birds of Prey super-G champion, finished second.
Townsend Bessent | Special to the Daily

BEAVER CREEK — Downhill training can mean something or it can mean absolutely nothing.

For the trivially inclined, France’s Adrien Theaux and Johan Clarey along with Italy’s Peter Fill went 1-2-3 on the first day of training last year at Beaver Creek.

We’re sure you all remembered that. Just nod your head.

The downhill podium three days later was Norway’s Aksel Lund Svindal, Switzerland’s Beat Feuz and Germany’s Thomas Dressen.

More people remember that.

So Austria’s Otmar Striedinger didn’t exactly crack open the Champagne after recording the fastest time at Wednesday’s downhill training at the Xfinity Birds of Prey Audi FIS Ski World Cup with a mark of 1 minute, 42.65 seconds.

If Striedinger wins the downhill on Saturday, then, of course, Wednesday’s training run will doubtless become deeply significant in the annals of Birds of Prey history.

But if one is trying to read the tea leaves, the 27-year-old Austrian has one podium during his World Cup career — he was second in the 2013 Birds of Prey super-G, won by Switzerland’s Patrick Kueng.

Familiar faces

Speaking of super-G winners, Austria’s Vincent Kriechmayr earned his first World Cup win here last year, the sixth first-time winner in the Birds of Prey super-G.

Kriechmayr is happy to be back. He was second in 1:43.65.

“It’s always nice to be at Beaver Creek,” Kriechmayr said. “I had my first World Cup points here and my first victory. … Hopefully I can be on the podium again here.”

Beaver Creek’s super-G was the first of three wins last season for the Austrian. He ended up finishing second in the super-G points and fifth in the downhill, so he figures to be a factor this week.

Norway’s Aksel Lund Svindal is no stranger to success at Beaver Creek or on any other slope for that matter. The Norwegian, who has six wins at Birds of Prey, had a smooth ride on Wednesday in 1:43.12, good for third.

Frenchman Theaux, who won bronze in the 2015 FIS World Alpine Ski Championships in super-G, took fourth (1:43.28). Norway’s Kjetil Jansrud was fifth in 1:43.36.

Jansrud won Sunday’s super-G up in Lake Louise, Alberta. He won the 2014 Birds of Prey downhill and has finished second here three more times.

Austria’s Max Franz won the Lake Louise downhill last weekend and seems to be carrying that momentum into this week. Franz was eighth on Wednesday.

Austrian Hannes Reichelt was in a three-way tie for 10th with Norway’s Aleksander Aamodt Kilde and Dressen. Reichelt is always a racer worth watching at Beaver Creek.

His first career win came here in 2005. His fourth win at Birds of Prey was the 2015 World super-G. At 37 years young last year, he was third in the super-G.

“It was grippy, more grippy than in past years,” Reichelt said. “Hopefully, the new snow will not destroy the good conditions. I would prefer a little bit more icy, but they did a nice job. It was really good skiing.”

“(It’s) more comfortable than Lake Louise. Lake Louise is always a tough start for me. It’s nice to come here. I like this course here.”

News and notes

Thomas Biesemeyer was the top American in sixth, hopping from bib No. 61. Biesemeyer did miss a gate, a rule not enforced in training, but it showed that he had some speed going. Steve Nyman was 15th, followed by Bryce Bennett in 19th and Ryan Cochran-Siegle in a tie for 22nd. Travis Ganong matched his bib with 33rd place. Local River Radamus did run on Wednesday. He’s definitely running in Sunday, Dec. 2’s giant slalom, but a training run may indicate a bigger role this week. Italy’s Matteo Marsaglia popped into 13th on Wednesday. His lone career win came here in the 2012 super-G.