EThere is a lot that Wolfgang Maier likes about these World Ski Championships. The weather, the slopes, the accommodation up in Courchevel, and above all the hotelier’s cooking skills. The achievements of his athletes are not yet part of the sports board of the German Ski Association. The chef therefore didn’t have to conjure up a festive menu on Thursday, but ordinary home cooking was sufficient – in line with the performance of the German speed drivers in the Super-G.
Only Andreas Sander might have earned a little treat. In ninth place, Maier thought he had shown “a decent performance”. “But he gambled away a significantly better placement when entering the finish slope because he didn’t adapt enough to the terrain.” take away, he said. “I’ve found my set-up, can handle the snow extremely well, and the basic speed is there.” For Sander, who tends towards perfection, the time for tinkering and testing at this World Championship seems to be over.
Reflects World Cup season
From a German point of view, the rest was forgettable. Josef Ferstl dropped out, Romed Baumann was 27th, Simon Jocher was two places behind. However, he can claim extenuating circumstances because he only returned from a long injury break shortly before the World Cup. At a higher level, but similarly disappointed, this season’s high-flyer left the finish area. The Swiss Marco Odermatt, who had won four of six Super-G races this season and had never been worse than third, finished fourth empty-handed. Gold medalist James Crawford, on the other hand, had never won a Super-G before. The Canadian was a hundredth of a second quicker than Norway’s Aleksander Aamodt Kilde. Third was Frenchman Alexis Pinturault, who had already won the combination.
The performance of the German team is not a big surprise compared to the occupation of the top step of the podium, but reflects the previous World Cup season. Sometimes one came through, i.e. among the top ten, but the next step that the alpine division of the DSV had hoped for after the World Cup in Cortina two years ago did not materialize. At that time, Romed Baumann and Andreas Sander left with silver in Downhill and Super-G. After the Olympic Games in Beijing last year and this season, when there were no highlights, it seems as if the successes back then in the Dolomites were already the final point – instead of a milestone on the way up.
“We’re missing a bit of killers from time to time,” Maier said. On the one hand, it is certainly due to the personality structure of the athletes, but on the other hand, the DSV sports director also wonders whether types “who have the character to suppress the risk and are only focused on the result” can also be trained. Maier refers to the Norwegians, who let their talents compete against each other very early on – and regularly bring winners into the World Cup. Before Kjus and Aamodt, then Svindal and Jansrud and now Kilde and some very fast slalom runners. “We place more value on technical training,” said Maier. Maybe it needs to be sharpened, he says.
For the current team, he believes, it’s not too late to develop “that competitive gene”. Especially when Thomas Dreßen, an athlete who has already proven to have the killer qualities demanded by Maier, can return to the top of the world after his injury.
The team that followed the example of the Germans two years ago could serve as a role model. Like the DSV, the Canadians had to build up a downhill team again. “They worked their way up to the top of the world with a certain vehemence,” says Maier – and overtook the Germans in the process. Maybe also because Canada has a downhill driver in Crawford who knew exactly what was important on Thursday. “He had the optimal timing and the risk that you have to take if you want to be at the front,” Maier stated – in contrast to his runners.
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