KITZBUCHEL, Austria – On a sunny Thursday morning the third and last Downhill training on the Streif took place. In perfect yet challenging conditions, skiers got a last chance to test the racing course and make sure they are ready for the race o Saturday.
Klaus Kroell crossed the finish line in 1 minute, 57.74 seconds clocking a time 0.26 seconds faster then Aksel Lund Svindal who finished in second place. In third place the only other Norwegian in the race – Kjetil Jansrud seems to have found some confidence with the Streif these days and might be aiming high on race day.
Austria has traditionally dominated the men's downhill on home snow in Kitzbuhel and the country is the proud owner of 22 wins and 61 podiums in the Kitzbühel Downhills. But, there has been no victory for Austria on the Streif in the past five years so Kroell, who came third in both 2009 and 2012 is looking to change that trend.
“This year it’s very bumpy and the snow is really fast. Trainings looked good for me, I feel good and am looking forward to the races. My goal is to win this race and as it’s about time an Austrian wins here again. It has been a long time since that happened but I think we have a good team, we are working well and for sure will be giving it our best shot to land on the top of the podium.”
But before everyone’s focus turns to Downhill, Friday the Streif will be hosting the Super G race.
The winner of the first two Downhill trainings, Aksel Lund Svindal has won two of the three World Cup Super G races so far this season and has been on the podium in all three races. Svindal has also been in the top six in each of the last three Super G races in Kitzbühel, including two podiums, but he has never won there in this or any other discipline.
Traditionally the Austrians have dominated the Kitzbuehel Super G races as they claimed the victory in eight of the 12 races and claimed 23 of the 37 podium positions.
No matter who ends up winning or claiming a spot on the podium, as of Friday it’s race time on the Streif and this slope never disappoints with the amount of excitement.
by Ana Jelusic