No podiums, no problem for Canadian team 

Britt Janyk, Erik Guay, John Kucera lead strong showing by national team

click to enlarge On Edge Emilie Desforges carves her way down the super G course on Sunday. Photo by Justa Jeskov,
  • On Edge Emilie Desforges carves her way down the super G course on Sunday. Photo by Justa Jeskov,

Whistler’s Britt Janyk came within 0.16 seconds of winning a World Cup medal in the first race held on her home turf in 13 years, leading off a respectable weekend of racing for the national team. There were no podiums, but strong skiing put a few Canadians in the hot seat each day for a little while, and gave the thousand-plus race fans that hiked from the base in Creekside or backroads of Nordic something to cheer about.

The World Cup races were a test event for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, and things went as well as could be expected. On the positive side the weather was close to perfect all week, aside from one day where the third women’s downhill training run was cancelled, and if anything the snow was a little softer than normal because of warmer temperatures and sun. The local Weasel Workers spent close to a month putting up fences and conditioning the course leading up the World Cup, and their efforts paid off.

The racers also praised the courses as being appropriately challenging.

On the negative side, several people complained about the long walk up to the timing flats, and the fact that spectators were not allowed to view the races from the slopes. The walk won’t be an issue in 2010, as a temporary people mover or lift will be installed to bring people to the Timing Flats, and the issue of allowing spectators to watch from the side of the course during the Games is being discussed.

Back to the races.

The women got the week going with back-to-back training runs on the downhill course, with Friday’s run cancelled. The men’s super G took place that day, the women’s downhill and men’s giant slalom on Saturday, and the women’s super combined on Sunday.

In Friday’s race, Erik Guay just missed the super G podium by 0.18 seconds, bumped by a pair of Austrian skiers, Christoph Gruber and Hannes Reichelt, and the out-of-nowhere performance of bronze medalist Ales Gorza of Slovenia.

“On this particular race I know exactly where I lost it,” said Guay. “I was a little too round in the middle, I could feel it. I was able to make the correction and get back on line and ski aggressively towards the bottom but it was already too late by then. To win a World Cup you’ve got to be perfect from start to finish.”


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