Swiss get what they wanted most
ST. MORITZ, SWITZERLAND – Host nation Switzerland got the world championships gold medal it most wanted when Beat Feuz won the downhill Sunday.
Roger Federer had a front-row seat in the stands to see Feuz finish 0.12 seconds faster than Erik Guay of Canada, denying the winner of Wednesday’s super-G a speed title double.
Max Franz of Austria was third, 0.37 behind Feuz, who took downhill bronze two years ago.
Though Feuz’s top speed of 119 kph (74 mph) was slower than many rivals, he was best at keeping speed through twisting turns midway down a shortened course.
A lower start was used because the steep “Free Fall” section — the signature feature of the Corviglia course — was shrouded in fog, and a lower start was used.
Fog forced the race to be postponed from Saturday, when Feuz turned 30.
The marquee men’s race shaped as an open one when the Olympic champion, world champion, season-long World Cup champion, and the past six World Cup race winners were all different racers.
Still, Feuz was many people’s favourite on a home course he knows well, where he won the World Cup finals downhill last March and had been fastest in a training run on Tuesday.
Racing as the No. 13 starter, Feuz broke a tie for the lead after Swiss teammate Patrick Kueng, the defending champion, matched Kjetil Jansrud of Norway. Kueng and Jansrud even posted the same time at each of the first two check points, and eventually shared fourth place.
“Hats off to Beat, I think he did an incredible job today,” said the 35-year-old Guay, who was seeking to match Bode Miller’s achievement 12 years ago of winning both speed races. “I felt some pressure, for sure.”
Feuz joined Swiss teammate Wendy Holdener, winner of the women’s combined event on Friday, as home gold medallists from the first five races.
The Swiss men’s team had underachieved this season, and its only win on the World Cup circuit was a fluke success for Niels Hintermann in a snow-affected combined event at Wengen. Hintermann was not selected in the fiveman Swiss team Sunday.
The Swiss got it right, and the Alpine nation’s most famous resident Federer, sitting with his wife Mirka, and Lindsey Vonn, looked on approvingly.
Vonn took bronze two hours earlier in the women’s downhill race, won by Ilka Stuhec of Slovenia.
Stuhec was faster than any of the men Sunday, clocking 125.6 kph (78 mph) on the adjoining course.
Beat Feuz of Switzerland shows his gold-medal form Sunday in St. Moritz, Switzerland.
Erik Guay of Canada wins the silver medal in Sunday’s world championship downhill.