Erik Guay on top of the worlds 

Janyk 15th in downhill

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Erik Guay is on top of the world with a win last weekend at the 2011 world alpine championships.

The Canadian Alpine Ski Team (CAST) has been reeling with injuries lately, and as a result sent a small, young and relatively experienced team to the competition at Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany.

Even the veterans making the trip were having health issues - Jan Hudec injured his hand a month earlier, while Erik Guay missed a few starts with a bad back.

But despite all the things working against the team these days, CAST once again came out of the weekend with the men's world championship title in downhill. With John Kucera still out and unable to defend his title from 2009, Guay stepped up and laid down a blistering fast run on the course.

He was wearing bib number 10, which meant that he had to sit on the hot seat while another 45 skiers came down the course - including Swiss skier Didier Cuche, the current World Cup leader and number two Michael Walchhofer of Austria.

"I'm on another planet right now," said Guay. "I'm pretty emotional and I'm just trying to take it all in.

"John (Kucera) won it two years ago, and I was there to see that. He wasn't able to defend his title but I'm glad to keep it going. It's a pretty special feeling."

Garmisch-Partenkirchen has been good to Guay over the years, who now has three gold medals and a total of five medals at the resort. Last season he clinched the overall World Cup title for super G there with a gold medal performance.

Guay's time of one minute, 58.41 seconds on the long course was never seriously challenged. Cuche came the closest in 1:58.73 to take the silver medal, while Christof Innerhofer of Italy was third in 1:59.17.

Guay has been off to a slow start this year - although his bronze medal at Val Gardena-Groeden, Italy in the super G back in December represented the only podium won by a Canadian athlete this season until he climbed the podium again at worlds.

"It wasn't flawless but it was a good run for sure," said Guay. "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.

"It seems like the planets aligned. I had a great start number and my back felt good. I always feel good when I come to Garmisch. It's a hill where I feel like I can charge everywhere. It's a pretty special place for me."

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