BEAVER CREEK, Colorado (Reuters) - Beaver Creek specialist Hannes Reichelt of Austria turned his experience into a first alpine ski world championship gold medal with a storming run in the men’s Super-G on Thursday.
Winner of a World Cup Super-G on the same plunging Birds of Prey course in December, Reichelt clocked a winning time of one minute, 15.68 seconds down the sun-kissed layout.
“This is an amazing day,” said Reichelt, who is competing in his sixth world championships. “After a really difficult and tough race, to be at the top of the podium is a dream come true.”
It was his first world championship gold, and his second medal overall having claimed silver at the 2011 worlds in Garmisch.
Unheralded Canadian Dustin Cook was second while Frenchman Adrien Theaux took third.
Norwegian Kjetil Jansrud, the Olympic champion and gold medal favourite after winning twice this season in World Cup Super-G, finished fourth after hitting the first gate and injuring his left shoulder.
However, International Ski Federation officials said Jansrud’s injury was not serious and the 29-year-old is expected to compete in the downhill later this week.
Beaver Creek has long been a favourite venue for the 34-year-old Reichelt, who has three wins and six podium finishes at the posh Colorado resort.
Skiing smoothly on soft snow, the Austrian led by almost half a second after the third interval and stayed in front despite some blemishes as he stormed to the finish, where he was greeted with massive roars from the packed grandstands.
“I won this race at the top and maybe a little bit in the middle part,” said Reichelt. “On the last part, I made some small mistakes and I wasn’t so amused about how I skied there but to make the win is amazing.”
It was the second consecutive win for the mighty Austrians with Anna Fenninger having taken the women’s Super-G gold on Tuesday.
American five-time world champion Bode Miller, competing in his first race after sitting out the start of the World Cup season recovering from back surgery, has likely seen his world championships come to an end following a crash that left him with a deep gash across his right calf.
Miller had made a typically aggressive run and was in the lead among the early starters after completing two-thirds of the course before he hooked his left arm in a gate and was sent tumbling across snow.
Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes; Editing by Frank Pingue