Norway’s Aleksander Aamodt Kilde conquered the fearsome Strief course to win the classic Hahnenkamm downhill in Kitzbühel, Austria, for the second consecutive year on Saturday. There was bad news for his overall FIS World Cup title rival Marco Odermatt however, who missed the race with a knee injury. Here is all you need to know:
– After taking a victory in the most famous downhill of them all in 2022, Kilde repeated the feat on Saturday as heavy snow fell and 40,000 fans packed the grandstands, beating the conditions and his rivals in a nearly flawless run to win by a sizeable 0.67 seconds.
– Taking second place was 42-year-old French veteran Johan Clarey, while American Travis Ganong completed the podium.
– Saturday’s victory was an impressive turn around for Kilde, who finished down in 16th in Friday’s first race run after a near fall cost him a possible victory. That win eventually went to local Austrian hero Vincent Kriechmayer, who finished fifth in Saturday’s race.
– There was also bad luck for current overall World Cup leader Marco Odermatt, who injured his knee in during Friday’s run and was forced to withdraw from Saturday’s showcase race.
– The Swiss champion still leads the overall World Cup standings from Kilde, but saw his lead cut down to 225 points over the Norwegian. Kilde meanwhile extended his lead in the overall downhill standings over Kriechmayer and Odermatt.
– Former Hahnenkamm champion Dominik Paris claimed a fifth place finish in Friday’s first race before coming home in 14th on Saturday.
– Before racing got underway in Kitzbühel, American legend Lindsey Vonn came out of retirement for one night only to become the first female to ever ski The Strief and also the first person to ski the course at night under floodlights.
– Vonn, who had not raced a downhill course in four years, said: “I’ve always had respect for the men that raced down the Streif, but I have even more respect now, because it’s one thing to go down it and another thing to ski to win. Now I can fully understand what that means.”