Canadian speedsters finish top-20 

Women’s downhill cancelled

Just one year after Alpine Canada Alpin decided to pull the plug on the remainder of the season for the men’s World Cup speed team because of injuries and poor-performance, the Canadian men’s speed team finished a breakthrough season on a high note.

While the top skiers fell short of qualifying for the World Cup finals, they came through in their last event at Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany with two top-20 finishes.

In the super G on Feb. 23, Erik Guay of Mont Tremblant, Quebec, finished 10th, just 0.56 seconds off the lead.

"I’m quite satisfied with this super G. I made big mistakes on the top but I skied well in the last part of the course," said Guay, 21. "I’m leaving now with my back pack full of new emotions… to build (on) next year."

The week before, Guay and Banff’s Jan Hudec finished sixth and seventh in super G on the opening day of the world championships to help push Canada towards its best championship showing in team history.

Also for Canada, Banff’s Jan Hudec finished 18 th , a personal best in World Cup competition.

"I’m really excited about the second half of the season," he said. "I started getting my focus back and training hard to get to where the fast guys are – that’s something I’ve struggled with all my life. Being thrown into the World Cup, I finally saw what it took to be at the top. It was kind of a rude awakening, but it just had to happen because next year might be too late. Now I’m looking forward to carrying that through the entire season next year."

At 18, Francois Bourque of New Richmond, Quebec, is the youngest racer on one of the youngest teams on the World Cup circuit. He finished in 44 th , just three seconds back of the lead.

Bourque’s international season is not over yet, however. The week before, Bourque won two gold medals at the Pontiac GMC Canadian Junior Championships at Le Massif, earning a berth in the World Junior Alpine Ski Championships at Serre Chavalier in March.

Jeff Hume of Whistler finished 48 th , wrapping up a promising rookie season with the team.

The German super G race went to Marco Buechel of Lichtenstein, followed by Stephan Eberharter of Austria and Tobias Gruenenfelder of Switzerland.

Eberharter won his 10th gold medal of the season in the downhill the day before. He was followed by Didier Cuche of Switzerland and Daron Rahlves of the U.S.

Guay was once again the top Canadian, finishing 21 st in the downhill.

The women’s downhill in Sierra Nevada, Spain was cancelled due to wet and heavy snowfall. Their World Cup season continues this weekend in Innsbruck, Austria.

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