Downhill gold for Canada

12th February 2011, by Chris Gill

Kandahar, Garmisch-Partenkirchen

Kandahar, Garmisch-Partenkirchen

Canadian Erik Guay has won the downhill gold at the World Championships in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

The 29-year-old from Mont Tremblant surprised the crowd with a storming performance to nudge title favourites Didier Cuche and Christof Innerhofer into second and third positions.

Guay, who has had a disappointing season so far, claimed the gold medal in 1:58:41, beating Cuche to the top spot by 0.32 seconds. Guay was delighted at his performance, having also been an early starter in the race and therefore getting the best surface conditions. He said: ‘It wasn’t flawless, but it was a good run, for sure. I was able to stay calm and stick to my game plan and hit the really key areas with speed. I was pushing to my limits.’ And it was the bottom section of the course where he was able to put in the extra spurt needed to clinch first place.

Favourite after Wednesday’s super-G win, Innerhofer couldn’t manage to pull off the double title but still came home in bronze position – having put in the fastest time in training.

With the women’s event on Sunday and the super-combined on Monday, officials also decided to cancel the final training runs to maintain good conditions on the Kandahar course. Recent mild weather has begun to soften the course, which was very hard and icy at the start of the Championships. And with little fresh snow forecast, the decision was taken not to run the training sessions.

In the women’s competitions there was another surprise win, this time in the super-combined event – won by Austria’s Anna Fenninger. Fenniger’s combined time at the end of the slalom races put her just ahead of Slovenia’s champion Tina Maze. But ill health seems to have plagued the women’s teams recently: Lyndsey Vonn pulled out of the slalom part of the super-combined after feeling unwell as a result of a recent concussion injury. Then Olympic champion Maria Riesch could only muster an 11th place finish, suffering the effects of a virus. Vonn does, however, hope to compete in Sunday’s downhill.

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