Austrian veteran Reichelt tops final Kitzbuehel training

Kitzbühel (Austria) (AFP) –


Austrian veteran Hannes Reichelt topped the second and final training run for Saturday's World Cup downhill in Kitzbuehel.

The 38-year-old Reichelt, who won here in 2014 and also has two third-place finishes in both the downhill and super-G, negotiated the 3.3km-long Streif course in 1min 57.41sec.

The 2015 world super-G champion, who is currently just 13th in this season's World Cup downhill standings, hit speeds in excess of 130km/h down what is widely regarded as the toughest course on the circuit.

"It was important for my self-confidence as my last few downhills have not been great," said Reichelt, adding that there was room for improvement.

"Naturally I would gladly repeat my training performance on Saturday!"

Italian Matteo Marsaglia, starting with bib number 51, finished second, at 0.23sec, while teammate Dominik Paris, a two-time Kitzbuehel winner (2013, 2017) came through the finish line 0.36sec off Reichelt's pace in third.

"I will give my best on Saturday and try to make as few mistakes as possible," said Paris.

Austrian Daniel Danklmaier, winner of the second-tier European Cup downhill in Kitzbuehel on Monday, was fourth (+0.43), having started well down the field in 44th, ahead of France's Adrien Theaux and Italy's Christof Innerhofer, tied for fifth, at 0.61sec.

Switzerland's Beat Feuz, who sits atop the World Cup discipline standings, was 3sec off the pace in 32nd spot in the training run held in cold, overcast conditions.

One notable absentee, however, was Norway's Aksel Lund Svindal.

The Norwegian, a three-time super-G winner in Kitzbuehel, skipped the training run in order to undergo medical tests on his problematic right knee in Innsbruck.

Also missing was Svindal's teammate Kjetil Jansrud, who broke two fingers in Tuesday's first training run.

There was a reminder on how tough the course was when Switzerland's Thomas Tumler was catapulted into the safety netting after running wide over a rutted piste late on.

"It's one of the hardest I've ever skied, that's for sure," France's Johan Clarey said on the eve of training.

"It's blue from top to bottom and it hits you throughout," he said in reference to the super-icy conditions.

"But it's what makes the legend of our sport. We're not going to complain about it. If you have Kitzbuehel with a super-easy snow when all goes well, it would no longer be Kitzbuehel."

Racers tackle the super-G on Friday before Saturday's downhill, with local favourite Marcel Hirscher aiming for a third slalom victory in the Tyrolean resort on Sunday.