Can Raich stay on Miller's heels?
After Benjamin Raich's great performance in the technical races, last weekend in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, he was able to take 160 points off of Bode Miller in the overall World Cup. The US star now has a lead of 29 points and will want to increase that again in Kvitfjell. He could manage that as well, then the downhill world champion is still stronger than Raich in the speed disciplines. Raich could profit from his compatriots though. Miller would lose valuable points, should the strong Austrian downhill riders land ahead of him. But the Pitztaler Raich is proficient in the super-G too, as he showed with his bronze medal at the World Championships in Bormio.
Walchhofer can wrap it up in the downhill
It's in Michael Walchhofer's own hands. After his two victories in Garmisch, the Austrian leads the downhill rankings with 631 points, ahead of Miller, (488). If he's still more than 100 points in front after Kvitfjell, then he already has the World Cup downhill title in his pocket. Walchhofer is fit again after a pulled muscle made a start in Slovenia impossible. The battle for the third place in this discipline is still very close. At the moment Johann Grugger, (AUT, 383), Daron Rahlves, (USA, 354), and Hermann Maier, (AUT, 293), are still in with a chance of taking the bronze position. Another one to watch is the ÖSV 'rookie' Mario Scheiber who was more than convincing with his second place in Garmisch.
Super-G: Miller and Maier neck and neck
The duel Austria versus the USA moves into the next round. Bode Miller and Hermann Maier, who are almost neck and neck at the top of the discipline rankings, are the protagonists in the super-G on Sunday. Behind Miller, (325 points), and Maier, (324), there's a tight struggle for the further positions. Apart from the Austrian riders, Walchhofer, Raich and Stephan Görgl, Daron Rahlves and the Swiss athlete Didier Defago are also in the fray. The standings reflect how close together the world elite is in this discipline at the moment. The ultimate positions won't be decided until the final races of the season in Lenzerheide, SUI.
Good prospects for German riders
Until now Kvitfjell has been a good patch for the German racers. Max Rauffer climbed onto the podium here in the year 2000 already, after his third place in the downhill. Florian Eckert was on the platform twice 2001, finishing second both times. The course could suit the Germans this year too. For Eckert, the points in the super-G are of special importance, because he still hasn't qualified for certain for the season's final in Switzerland.
Norwegians strive to stay in contact
Things haven't been going favourably for the norwegians recently. In front of a home crowd Bjarne Solbakken, in the super-G, as well as Kjetil Andre Aamodt and Aksel Lund Svindal in the downhill, want to at least qualify for the finals in Lenzerheide. In the discipline standings they have to be under the best 25. Only Lasse Kjus is in Switzerland for sure, because he already has more than 400 points to his credit overall.
Kvitfjell 2004 - A review
Last year the Austrian Stephan Eberharter triumphed in the downhill and with that took the downhill World Cup. Possibly a good omen for his successor in the ÖSV team Michael Walchhofer. In second place 2004 was Fritz Strobl, AUT, followed by Antoine Deneriaz from France. The super-G was won by the US rider Daron Rahlves, ahead of Bjarne Solbakken, NOR, and Hermann Maier.
Programme of events for Kvitfjell 2005
Saturday the 5th of March:
Men's downhill commencing at 11:30am
Sunday the 6th of march:
Men's super-G commencing at 10:45am
We will of course be reporting on both races in our live-ticker.
Kvitfjell was built for the Olympic winter games 1994, and has since then become well known amongst alpine skiers over the entire world. Competitions were held here in the super-G and the downhill. From what was, originally, one lift and a downhill slope, a large skiing centre, with a snowboard park, has been constructed. The courses in Kvitfjell were designed by the Swissman Bernard Russi. The downhill slope especially, satisfies every modern World Cup criteria.
Fun for everyone
The skiing region Kvitfjell is extremely varied and offers skiing fun, and comfort, for beginners and experienced skiers alike. There is a special area where children can learn to ski, or practise, tourists can have fun on friendly red slopes, and the 'freaks' have the blackest and most perilous slopes, with gradients of up to 64%, at their disposal. But the snowboarders are also well catered for. They have their own snowboard park with a cross track, a halfpipe, quarterpipes, rails and big jumps.
Skiing region and slope data
All of the competition courses boast modern artificial-snow machines and are FIS approved. The four-seater ski-lift to the middle station alone, can transport 2,850 skiers every hour.
Course name: Olympiabakken
Start: 1,020 metres
Finish: 182 metres
Vertical drop: 832 metres
Course length: 3.035 metres
Average gradient: 29%
Maximum gradient: 64%
Start: 823 metres
Finish: 182 metres
Vertical drop: 641 metres
Course length: 2,574 metres
Average gradient: 26%
Maximum gradient: 64%