Strategy pays off ... barely

ERIC FRANCIS -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 1:14 PM ET

LAKE LOUISE -- Erik Guay engaged in some training-run gamesmanship yesterday that is generally reserved for just the world's very best downhillers.

And it almost cost him dearly.

In an effort to earn himself as low a start bib as possible for today's season-opening World Cup downhill, Guay stood up to slow himself down at the tail end of a solid training run yesterday.

Wanting to finish as close to 30th so he could be first or second out of the gate at 12:30 today when the start list is reversed, Guay almost slowed up too much.

"That's probably slicing it a little thinner than you'd like to," chuckled Alpine Canada president Ken Read of Guay's 27th-place finish.

"There's a whole new level of confidence there now that you can play with it and do like (Bode) Miller and (Michael) Walchhofer."

A split second slower and Guay would have been starting later than 30th, making it almost impossible to challenge for the podium on a chewed up course.

Guay's Canadian teammates will have to try doing just that including Calgary's John Kucera who finished 36th followed by Manuel Osborne-Paradis in 42nd.

"In my head I know where I can make up a second out there -- hopefully everybody else doesn't have in their head where they can make up a second, too," laughed the 21-year-old Osborne-Paradis, an Invermere native.

Quebec's Francois Bourque finished a frustrating 49th and snapped his pole in the finish area. Calgary's Brad Spence was 59th and Whistler's Jeff Hume crashed midway down the hill.

Norway's Kjetil Andre Aamodt finished first while defending champ Bode Miller finished fifth on a brilliant morning in which temperatures hovered around minus-5. Racing begins at 12:30 p.m. today on a course that was shortened due to warmer temperatures.


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