Alpine Skiing – Niels Hintermann secures his first podium at the World Cup downhill. The Zurich man finished third in the Val Gardena when surprising American Bryce Bennett won.
It was a day of surprise once again in Val Gardena. Saslong once again lived up to its reputation as a locality for the unpredictable. It was on this day that Ottmar Streidinger completed the podium, the Austrian who stepped into the breach for his high-ranking teammates. World champion Vincent Krichmeier and discipline leader Mathias Meyer had to be humble with places 14 and 16. It was also fitting for this special day that Norway’s Alexander Kilde, who started as a top favourite, winner of the Super-G from the previous day and the last two downhill runs at the 1970 World Cup, retired after a clear interim best time. Happened. ,
difficult last season
Hintermann would have signed on for a classification in the top ten. This would have been the next confirmation of his early form, a continuation of good results after finishing twelfth in Lake Louise, Canada and seventh at Beaver Creek, Colorado.
The recent rise towards the first podium place in the World Cup downhill course makes you want more, for example to participate in the Olympic Games in Beijing, for which he naturally meets the selection criteria. But Hinterman brushes it aside. “It would be nave and even a little arrogant to say that this is going to continue. You have to see where I come from. I’ve had a tough season, from a psychological point of view as well.”
This past season was really unpleasant. Two falls, one downhill in the Val d’Isre, where Hintermann was likely on his way to victory, and the other in the downhill at Bormio, in which he suffered a knee injury and therefore could not race for more than one time. Months, there were severe setbacks.
“That’s why I like to take every result. Every result gives me a little bit more confidence,” said the Zurich man, who finished in the top three only once at the World Cup – almost five years before when he won from the season. The combination that impressed had drawn a lot at Wengen.
Saturday was the second best Swiss beet fuse. After a wild ride, Emmentler finished fifth, less than half a second behind Bennett. Yannick Chabloz was also a ray of hope in the Swiss-ski team. Nidwalden’s man only finished thirteenth in his second World Cup race.
Bennett’s victory came as a surprise, but not entirely without notice. The two-meter and five-centimeter tall athlete from Squaw Valley in California achieved his two best results ever at the World Cup on the slopes in Val Gardena. That was the fourth twelve months ago – and even three years earlier. This was the season in which he was only part of the B team. 20th place in the Downhill World Cup rankings was no longer sufficient for the status of the national team following a change in statutes.
The downgrade already had financial consequences. Bennett was forced to pay some of the cost, approximately $25,000. The unsatisfactory situation aroused thoughts of resignation. Bennett lacked the motivation to move on. The frustration was greater than the desire to persevere.
Turning Point brought a fundraiser to Vail, Colorado, with many well-heeled compatriots supporting Bennett and his colleagues. Money was no longer a concern, paving the way for the next attempt to establish itself in the circle of the world’s best alpine. Val Gardena, who finished fourth three years ago, also reaffirmed his belief in leaping to the top. “I can do it. I’m a candidate for the podium,” he thought at the time.
Since Saturday, Bennett has been sure that his self-assessment was not wrong. Surprise day is also a day of confirmation for them.
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