For Verstel it was the best result of his downhill career. In 2017 he surprisingly celebrated his first World Cup victory at Groden in a Super-G. He also bought his ticket to the World Cup in Courchevel on the short slope.
“I like being here,” said Verstel, who started third, “and if the result is right, it’s even more fun. I’m very satisfied.”
“The ride was really good, but with one big mistake,” he said over the Eurosport microphone at the end — otherwise he would have been able to do more.
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“It was expected to be a close race, anything is possible here in Val Gardena and I hope to get a good run in the Super-G,” he said, looking over the tight gaps.
A trip to Verstel brings back memories
The fact that Verstel celebrated his best result in a downhill race in Groden of all places should have brought back fond memories for the 33-year-old: in 2017 he celebrated his first World Cup win in a Super-G at Saslong. “I’m always happy here, and if the result is still right, it’s even more fun,” assures Verstel, who also broke the criteria for the World Cup in South Tyrol next February.
Most recently, he finished sixth in the Super-G at Wengen this past January. Since then, Verstel has mostly had to settle in one of the lower ranks, but he still sees room for improvement at Val Gardena. Verstel stressed that a small mistake at the entrance to the Siaslat meadow “of course cost him a great place.”
ÖSV stars in focus
In a “very tight, very tough” race, he was only 15 percent behind third-placed Austrian Matthias Mayer, who himself was only 0.13 seconds behind compatriot Krechmayer. “I risked my life today,” Krechmeyer confirmed meaningfully after the race. You can watch his win being played here in the video:
Verstel also tried “to give everything. It was obvious it was going to be a close race, I had nothing to lose and I just went for it”. Especially in Val Gardena you have to ‘take a risk if you want to ride’.
Daniel Himetsberger was less fortunate in this venture. The ÖSV skier, who was on the podium in Lake Louise, was on his way to a new best time. However, the 31-year-old made a mistake and caused a shock moment by falling. A few seconds later, he was back on his feet and reached the end zone under his own steam. The scene in the video is here:
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Vice World Champion Andreas Sander, who was 14th (+0.61) and achieved his best result of the season, also performed well for the German Ski Federation.
Louis Vogt, Romid Baumann and Thomas Dressen, like the fallen Dominik Schweiger, missed out on the top 30 and thus the points.
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