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Canada’s Jeffrey Read earns World Cup silver in men’s super-G

Canmore, Alta. athlete came in just behind Austria’s Vincent Kriechmayr
Austria’s Vincent Kriechmayr speeds down the course during an alpine ski, men’s World Cup super-G, in Kvitfjell, Norway, Sunday, Feb. 18, 2024. (AP Photo/Gabriele Facciotti)

Canada’s Jeffrey Read placed second in the men’s super-G on Sunday for the first FIS Alpine World Cup podium finish of his career.

Read, from Canmore, Alta., finished in one minute 9.4 seconds to put him in the leader’s seat until Austria’s Vincent Kriechmayr beat his time.

“The stars aligned, it’s a track that I love and have some speed on, and the skiing was just right today,” said Read. “I ended up with a good clean run, good enough for second, not quite enough speed to catch Kriechmayr in first, but it was a really tight race, and I’m really stoked to end up on the podium.”

Kriechmayr beat Read by 0.17 seconds and closed the gap in the discipline standings on leader Marco Odermatt to 81 points, with only the Austrian’s home race at the World Cup finals in Saalbach on March 22 outstanding.

Odermatt would have locked up the title Sunday with a first or second place, but the Swiss star shared third position with Italian racer Dominik Paris, trailing Kriechmayr by 0.19 seconds.

Read’s strong showing continued a strong weekend for Canadian men’s ski racing, after Cameron Alexander of North Vancouver, B.C., finished third in the downhill on Saturday.

“This is a track that is definitely one of our best, if not for sure our best,” Read said post-race. “There is something about the snow, I think, being a bit similar to home, and terrain that we’re really comfortable on, and we have a lot of confidence, so it kind of clicks every time we’re here, and it’s nice to finally be able to capitalize on it for myself.”

Alexander posted yet another positive result for himself in Kvitfjell, a place where he has reached the podium twice before. His time of 1:09.44 landed him just 0.02 seconds from a three-way tie for third.

“I’m very happy with how I skied today, and I was able to execute my plan for the most part all the way down,” said Alexander. “It’s tough to be so close to the podium, but that’s just racing sometimes, and I can look back on today and be proud of my result.”

With the podium finish and significant success on the penultimate speed weekend of the 2023-24 World Cup schedule, Read moved up to seven in the discipline’s rankings, cracking the top 25 and qualifying him for the final race of the season in Saalbach, Austria.

Alexander, ranked 20th in super-G after Sunday’s race, will also compete at the World Cup finals and will be joined by fellow Toronto’s Jack Crawford, 12th, who was one of 10 skiers to ski out of the gates in Sunday’s super-G.

Aside from two Canadians in the top five in the event, Riley Seger (North Vancouver) finished 42nd, just ahead of Kyle Alexander (North Vancouver), who finished 43rd. Brodie Seger, (North Vancouver) rounded out Canadian finishers in 47th.

Odermatt extended his lead in the overall standings to a massive 918 points from Cyprien Sarrazin. The Frenchman sat out this weekend’s races with a calf injury.

Odermatt was on the podium in 14 of the last 15 super-G races and won the discipline title last season. He needs to finish 13th or better in the final race to win the globe again.

Kriechmayr didn’t fancy his chances of overtaking Odermatt next month.

“It’s only a theoretical chance. He won’t let this be taken away from him, with his class,” said Kriechmayr, who was the World Cup super-G champion in 2020-21.

Kriechmayr came wide in a turn and lost time halfway through his run but gained a decisive advantage on the bottom part of the course.

“Down there I raced pretty much on the limit,” the Austrian said. “I didn’t think I would lead after that mistake.”

It was the ninth career World Cup super-G victory for Kriechmayr, who also has nine downhill wins. Three years ago, he won gold in both disciplines at the world championships in Cortina d’Ampezzo.

Kriechmayr finished runner-up in Saturday’s downhill on the same slope, which was won by Niels Hintermann. The Swiss racer finished 1.66 seconds off the lead in 48th and outside the World Cup points on Sunday.

Italian skier Pietro Zazzi, a late starter with bib 50, impressed by finishing sixth, sharing his position with teammate Guglielmo Bosca.

The men’s World Cup heads to the United States next for two series of technical races – in Palisades Tahoe, California next weekend, and Aspen, Colorado on March 1-3.

The Associated Press