Clarey leads before wind has final say

December 17th, 2011

Clarey left with nothing after wind causes race cancellation

Johan Clarey was moments away from his maiden World Cup win when the decision was made to cancel the Downhill in Val Gardena. It was a very hard decision for the French HEAD World Cup rebel who has twice been on the podium in the World Cup but never won. The decision to cancel the race was announced by Günter Hujara after consultation with his jury along the course. Over the Camel jumps the wind was inconsistent and with safety a major part of the decision, there was no other option the organisers felt.

With 21 racers down and the rules stating either 30 racers or 50 per cent of the field to have started for the race to be valid, this was hard on the Frenchman. “I was lucky on the track but it is not the first time that there is so much wind on the course. It was not dangerous for the guys at the top. I do not know what to say I am just so disappointed right now. It will take a long time for me to accept this. It is not very fair,” explained Clarey after the decision was made.

HEAD World Cup Rebels race manager, Rainer Salzgeber spoke after the race: “It was a curious situation for a couple of reasons: for those in the top group they had to ski in really bad conditions and then they cancelled it when it was better. The question mark is the guy at the Camel Jumps and that is Hujara; he said that it was so windy that it was dangerous. I ask myself why was it not dangerous until number 21?

I feel really sorry for Johan, it would have been nice especially in France but that is life; that is sport. For those guys who are at the back, like Cuche, he had no chance at all but that is not a sport at all. What I believe is that if you have 21 racers in the finish and then stop and have better conditions before 22 for me it is a little bit strange.”

Asked whether it was the right or the wrong decision, Aksel Lund Svindal responded “It depends on where you are asking from: From safety, depends how the wind was at the Camels, when I went the wind was OK. The rest of the jumps are not very big.” Svindal went on to say that it “was a lottery, you have to ski good but with the high numbers you have no chance. When a guy like Didier (Cuche) is that far behind it says everything!

Cuche could not understand why the race was stopped and said “You do not know when it will be good after you have stopped the race. Why is he (Hujara) waiting now and not before number one?” As for his run, Cuche felt that is was a pretty ok run, he admitted afterwards.

For the winner of both training runs, Hans Olsson, his early start number was not what he really wanted as he “just wanted a fair race. When the snow comes I would have hoped for a higher number. Now I am in sixth and that is OK but I wanted to win,” he explained. “I think I skied really well and did what I could. It has been a big experience for me to come into the race as a favourite, I have learned a lot. I am pretty soft on my skis and do not push that hard as many others. When I skied today I was almost singing the whole way down! I am more of a cruiser than a killer some would say!

No result, positions at time of cancellation (after 21 racers)
1. Johan Clarey (FRA) HEAD
2. Adrien Theaux (FRA)
3. Patrick Kueng (SUI)
6. Hans Olsson (SWE) HEAD
7. Stephan Keppler (GER) HEAD
11. Werner Heel (ITA) HEAD
14. Aksel Lund Svindal (NOR) HEAD
18. Didier Cuche (SUI) HEAD