KITZBUEHEL, AUSTRIA—Erik Guay moved one step closer to Canadian skiing history on Saturday.
The reigning world downhill champion from Mont Tremblant, Que., finished second in World Cup racing’s marquee event — Guay’s 19th career World Cup podium finish, one back of Steve Podborski’s Canadian record.
“If ever there’s a place you want to podium it’s Kitzbuehel. It’s definitely the Super Bowl of the World Cup,” said Guay, who added the result was a nice build-up toward the Feb. 10 downhill at the world championships in Schladming, Austria. “I’ve never been on the podium here, so second place is great.
Ken Read started an incredible streak with his victory in the downhill in 1980. Podborski won in 1981 and 1982 before Todd Brooker did it in 1983. Before Guay, though, Rob Boyd was the last Canadian man to make the podium in the downhill, third in 1991. Thomas Grandi was second in the slalom in 2004.
Vancouver’s Manuel Osborne-Paradis finished 10th on Saturday, while Ben Thomsen of Invermere, B.C., was 17th and Calgary’s Jan Hudec was 18th on the 3.3-kilometre course.
“I think in other years when our team has come here we haven’t really attacked, but this year we had a different mindset,” Guay said. “Our team is strong. I like that we are a small team, small but focused, four guys who can all be competitive.”
Paris, who also won in Bormio in December, and teammate Christof Innerhofer have combined for four downhill victories this season, a record for the Italian team.
Svindal had to wait in the start gate after Peter Fill crashed. The Italian went into the fences and made an ugly looking back flip, but escaped unhurt. Later, Johan Clarey of France also avoided injury in a full-speed crash.