Aleksander Aamodt Kilde Wins First Downhill in Kitzbühel
Aleksander Aamodt Kilde claimed today, in a lightly shortened Downhill racecourse (the race started from the reserve start, located just above the Mausefalle, due to strong winds in the upper part of the slope), his first career win on the Streif. He finished ahead of Johan Clarey (+0.42) and the surprise of the day, Blaise Giezendanner (+0.63).
He is the fourth Norwegian winner at the Streif. Before him, Åtle Skårdal (1990), Lasse Kjus (1999, 2004) and Kjetil Jansrud (2015) had won the Hahnenkamm Downhill. It is his 12th career alpine skiing World Cup win and his 9th downhill World Cup podium finish.
Until today his best downhill result in Kitzbühel had been a 6th place.
Kilde has won six races this season. He joins the group of five Norwegian skiers to have achieved more than five event wins in a single World Cup season: Kjetil Jansrud (7 in 2014-2015), Aksel Lund Svindal (7 in 2015-2016), Kjetil André Aamodt (6 in 1992-1993), Lasse Kjus (6 in 1998-1999), and Henrik Kristoffersen (6 in 2015-2016).
Thanks to today's win the Viking has moved to the top of the Downhill World Cup standings with 405 points, 53 ahead of Austrian Matthias Mayer, and 68 of Beat Feuz.
“It's unbelievable, I don't understand why I was so quick. I've never been like that before. I tried something and it didn't work, now I took the old skis again and they were great. It’s always been a dream for me to win in Kitzbühel. The normal race here is a bit different, with the big crowd (only 1,000 spectators today instead of 50,000). But Kitzbühel remains Kitzbühel and I am very proud now", said Kilde.
41-years-old Johan Clarey finished in second place. Clarey has been on the podium eight times but has never won a World Cup race. Only Heinrich Messner (10) and Mario Scheiber (8) have also claimed so many World Cup downhill podiums without ever winning. The Frenchman picked up three of his eight podiums on the Streif: third in 2017, second in 2021, and second again in 2022.
He was close again to breaking the record for the oldest man to win a World Cup event, set by Didier Cuche (37y-192d) in the Crans-Montana super-G on 24 February 2012.
"It is just unbelievable. I did not think that I could repeat my podium from last year but I had a good feeling and I really skied well in the training sessions. Today I skied a near-perfect run, with just a few mistakes at the lowest sections. I am so happy about my 2nd place today but maybe I can win a World Cup sometime. I like icy slopes and the atmosphere in Kitzbühel is great - this is the land of skiing so I really enjoy this", Clarey said.
Clarey has long been a "Kitz" specialist, for the ninth time the oldie raced into the top five in the Streif. “It's my big goal to win here once, I have my next chance on Sunday", said Clarey on ORF after he became the age world record holder for a Downhill podium place at the age of 41. “The record is certainly difficult to bend. I don't have a World Cup win yet, but at least I did that".
Blaise Giezendanner with bib number 43 finished in third place pushing off the podium Matthias Mayer. The best result in the world cup until today for the 30-year-old skier from Chamonix had been 8th place in the Super-G in 2016 in Jeongseon (Korea). A super-G specialist his best result in the Downhill was 9th place in Chamonix.
"Kitzbühel is such a special place for everyone, it's the Holy Grail of Alpine Skiing. I'm speechless, I have to watch it again myself. And sharing a place on the podium with Johan it's incredible. I couldn't be happier. In Wengen I was seconds behind Kilde, now I'm just behind him. An unbelievable leap”, said Giezendanner.