Mother Nature could not have dished up a better day for today’s downhill as sunny skies and great snow conditions greeted the racers for the Lauberhorn Downhill Classic, the longest course on the World Cup tour.
Vincent Kriechmayr, after being quarantined and missing both training sessions, played the role of the spoiler in the 2022 Downhill race in Wengen, edging Swiss hero Beat Feuz by 0.34 seconds to claim his first Downhill victory of the season. Third place went to Dominik Paris (+0.44).
"Of course, it wasn't nice if you had to be in quarantine. It's a difficult situation for everyone and I'm grateful that I was allowed to start (thanks to a special permit issued by the FIS on Thursday evening). I didn't expect it to work out like this. Every athlete understood my situation and said that it could also affect them. Of course, I am pleased that the FIS made an exception and made a courageous decision. Of course, it may be easier with a prominent name, but it's still good that we've now looked at the athletes and that it applies to everyone. It is an extraordinary situation and decisions like this are needed”, said Kriechmayr in an ORF interview.
The Double world champion delivered an appealing performance repeating an unusual tactic to cut his speed on the narrow Alpweg section to prepare for a tight, slow S-shaped series of turns. And it works. After the first two sections, he was +0.52 and +0.28 seconds behind Feuz but after the Kernen-S Kriechmayer was only 0.01 seconds behind.
He joins Franz Klammer (3) and Stephan Eberharter (2) as the only Austrian men to win in Wengen multiple times in the World Cup.
It's Kriechmayr 10th win (4 in the Downhill) and the 25th podium in the World Cup.
“I wanted to show more yesterday (12h in the first Downhill), even though I didn't have a training run. In the last few races, Kilde and Odermatt have shown that you have to be completely on the limit. If like me, you only ski a few passages at 95 percent and lack the determination, it doesn't work. Today I tried to take my heart in my hands and give everything I've got", said Kriechmayr.
After finishing yesterday in third place on the shortened Downhill, Beat Feuz finished today in second place. The three-time winner of Wengen's Downhill (2012, 2018, and 2020) was on the podium in the Lauberhorn a total of eight times (7 in DH and one in the Super Combined).
It's the second podium in the Downhill this season for Dominik Paris after winning the last race in Bormio on 28 December. In the 2020 Downhill in Wengen, Paris finished second behind winner Beat Feuz.
With a total of 316 points, Paris now leads the Downhill standings 11 points ahead of Aleksander Aamodt Kilde and Beat Feuz and 14 of Matthias Mayer. The skier from Merano has never won the Downhill World Cup title and has made that his main goal for the season, ahead of winning a gold medal at the upcoming Beijing Olympics.
An again amazing Marco Odermatt just missed a second podium place for Switzerland. The overall World Cup leader was only 2 hundredths short of his 3rd Top 3 place in the 3rd race in Wengen. The Italian Dominik Paris, the winner from Bormio, was +0.02 seconds faster.
Carlo Janka, the Olympic champion (2010), world champion (2009), and overall World Cup winner (2010) competed in his 287th World Cup race for the last time.