After a super-G "to forget", the confidence of the double olympic champion was "a lot higher" due to an increase in training one day before the next medal decision. "Of course it is a pity that we are a bit of a decimated team. But we two will do our best and keep the german flags flying high," said hofl-riesch one day before the super combination this friday.
While veronique hronek wants to finish in the top 15 there, the people responsible for hofl-riesch want a place on the podium. "It’s clear that maria is going to the start to make a medal," explained women’s head coach thomas stauffer. Hofl-riesch’s fifth place in downhill training at any rate gave hope; she herself counts herself among the "narrow circle of favorites".
Not only the 28-year-old, but the whole team would benefit from a first success in austria. Although the mood in the team is described as not bad. "We’re not going to have a crisis meeting in the evening because we haven’t won a medal yet," says stephan keppler after only two of eleven decisions.
While the german alpine team, which has set itself the target of three medals, is hoping for the second week in particular, the pressure on the host nation is already enormous. Two races without edemetal are a false start, but now come three competitions with good chances. And with hannes reichelt and regina sterz, the austrians were at least the fastest in downhill training. In friday’s decider, tina maze aims for second schladming title after gold in super-G. "I want to make two perfect runs tomorrow, but a medal is possible even with mistakes," the slovenian stressed. No skier has ever won a medal in all five individual disciplines at a world championship.
Keppler had to be the first in the world championship training on the downhill on the planai on thursday. With number one on the grid, the test pilot put on an artistic display when he fell on his left side, but picked himself up again and crossed the finish line. There he shook his head and made a windshield wiper movement in front of his face. "A few things are really critical," said keppler about the conditions with his opinion of sharp waves and bad markings.
In saturday’s downhill he will be the only german starter after the world cup farewell for tobias stechert. Limping, stechert, fifth in the downhill from lake louise, had already left the finish area after 24th place in the super-G. Due to knee problems he had to cancel his training on thursday – and after a consultation with the trainers in the quarters the german skiing federation (DSV) announced the second cancellation in schladming. The day before, the athlete had posed on facebook with a thumbs-up ("the knee stop"). His sister gina stechert had broken off her world championships one day before the rough brother. After only one training session her knee gave her problems again.
The cancellations of the injury-plagued stechert siblings somehow fit into the bleak picture of the first days of schladming for the DSV. For joy neither the men nor the ladies had provided in the super-G. Keppler ends up in 33rd place. Hofl-riesch and veronique hronek had dropped out the day before; lena durr was given a rest period of several days after finishing in 30th place. At least, eighth place by viktoria rebensburg was considered "decent" by alpine director wolfgang maier.
Maier has been in office long enough not to let the bad start upset him; he knows the ups and downs like no other member of the german team. In the men’s competition, no more than respectable successes were to be expected for the german world championship delegation anyway. And the fact that the two more or less rough medal hopes rebensburg and hofl-riesch did not come true in the super-G, did not dampen maiers world championship confidence for a long time yet. "You just have to accept that, nothing is broken for a long time yet."
In any case, the chances of a medal in the second week in the team competition and the technical races for the team are much greater. Also because neureuther, who is in top form, will then intervene in the world championship event. This week he was able to congratulate his buddy ted ligety (USA) on super-G gold via a photo with the "victory" sign in his right hand from the trunk of his car.