TAge like this in Werdenfelser Land is part of the business, Kira Weidle knows that. Rain, snow, fog – and a result that didn’t necessarily put the German ski racer in a good mood. After 23rd place in the first Super-G on Saturday, the second race at the home World Cup in Garmisch-Partenkirchen had to be canceled one day later after several postponements due to weather conditions. It should now take place this Monday (10.50 a.m. / Eurosport).
The last World Cup weekend will probably not be one that Weidle will deal with any longer. It is even more unsuitable to get in the mood for the World Championships in Cortina d’Ampezzo, which starts next Monday. That might have been different if a descent on the Kandahar could have taken place as planned. In the fastest discipline, Weidle is again one of the best this season, in contrast to the Super-G, and has already approached the podium a few times with two fifth places. The 24-year-old from Starnberg therefore believes she is well prepared for the big event. “I feel fit for the World Cup,” she says, because: “The downhill shape is right.”
In the Super-G, on the other hand, she has never really worked very well with her. Although she achieved her best result in this discipline as 15th in St. Anton this winter, a small setback followed in Garmisch. You’ve tried a lot in the past few weeks, says Weidle. “We already had one or two approaches, but it doesn’t work overnight. Maybe it will take a little more time. “
It is completely different with Lara Gut-Behrami, who won the third Super-G race in succession on Saturday and is therefore going to the World Cup as the big gold favorite. The Swiss woman once appeared among the world’s elite in this discipline, fast and very promising. At 18 she got her first win, which was on the Kandahar, her 15th in the Super-G.
Lara Gut-Behrami is difficult to compare with Weidle. She was once considered the child prodigy of skiing, won the overall World Cup in 2016 and a few medals at major events. But occasionally she got in her own way, so her trophy collection may not be as big as she could have been as a versatile talent. Now, at almost 30, she has found the fun again, “the freedom to ski,” as she says.
Weidle, on the other hand, is still at the beginning of her career and her prospects are particularly brilliant in the downhill. Unlike Gut-Behrami, she decided early on to specialize in the fastest discipline – and that also meant that the giant slalom training was somewhat neglected. But to become a brilliant Super-G driver, you need in-depth technical training. Because the criterion, says the German alpine boss Wolfgang Maier, is “the feeling for the tighter radii”. The athletes have less time between turns than on the descent, but the pace is hardly slower. You have to drive more dynamically, says Maier. And also think more dynamically, faster.
But that is not always easy for downhill specialists. As an example Maier named the American Breezy Johnson, who is regularly on the podium in the fastest discipline this season, but had no chance in the Super-G of Garmisch-Partenkirchen with 34th place. Giant slalom riders, on the other hand, often quickly gain a foothold in the Super-G. The German women’s head coach Jürgen Graller once attested that his former front woman Viktoria Rebensburg had at least as great potential in this discipline as in giant slalom and wanted to make her number one. However, the multiple medal winner thwarted Graller’s ambitious plan with her resignation last September.
Before this season, Kira Weidle pushed giant slalom training. “To consolidate the technique a little.” She succeeds in doing this, but “in stressful situations”, that is, in the race, she forgets certain things, she admits. For Alpine boss Wolfgang Maier it is therefore a matter of the head. “She doesn’t trust herself to do the right thing in the respective situations on the slopes,” he says. In contrast to Gut-Behrami. She knows that she can hardly do anything wrong.