February 3, 2012
Guay 4th in France on strong Canadian day
By QMI Agency
CHAMONIX, FRANCE - Erik Guay came agonizingly close to recording a second-straight podium, but his teammates weren’t far behind as Canadians finished fourth, sixth and 11th in Friday’s downhill.
Guay, of Mont-Tremblant, Que., was just four-hundredths of a second back of third and eight-hundreds behind the first-place finisher
Calgary’s Jan Hudec was hot on his heels in sixth place, while Ben Thomsen, of Invermere, B.C., put the finishing touches on a superb team performance with a career-best 11th-place finish that was achieved despite starting at the back of the pack with bib No. 50.
For a short while, Guay and Hudec were 1-2, standing side by side in the leader’s box.
“I watched Jan’s run at the top and I thought for sure he would be the winner. So when I came down in first I was like, ‘Wow. I’m pretty sure I just won this,’ ” said Guay, who secured his 16th career World Cup podium last weekend with a second-place finish in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany.
“It was pretty cool when we were sitting there 1-2 but unfortunately, it seemed like the conditions changed quite a lot and people were putting down some extremely fast times.”
Klaus Kroell, also of Austria, won an incredibly tight race in a time of 2:04.22, while the American Bode Miller was second (2:04.23) and Swiss superstar Didier Cuche was third (2:04.26).
“Things are progressing nicely,” said Guay, who is now ranked sixth in the World Cup downhill standings. “I’m getting consistency from training through to race day. I think I just need to find that extra gear.”
For the second successive week, a great result from Guay was accompanied by stellar performances from his teammates. Last weekend in Garmisch, Hudec was 12th, Thomsen was 23rd and Conrad Pridy, of Whistler, B.C., was 25th.
“It was a great team day for us,” said Johno McBride, head speed coach of the men’s alpine team. “It would have been nice to have been a few hundredths faster but the boys took care of business today. Hopefully we can keep this train rolling.”
Hudec was the fourth man out of the gate and he produced a hard-charging run of 2:04.39 that gave him a lead of 1.34 seconds as he crossed the line. He stayed in first place until Guay went down, wearing bib No. 16.
“All things considered I did the maximum I think I could today. I’m pretty proud of that,” said Hudec, whose best result this season is a fourth-place finish in super-G in Lake Louise.
“It was good to have an early number but I think a later one would have been a little better. It’s like if you play golf, there’s always going to be that one part that could be better. But all in all, I think I got as much as I could out of that course.”
Thomsen, who endured a frustrating start to the season but produced a breakthrough performance in Garmisch, had his teammates and coaches on their feet with a superb run that gave him a time of 2:04.87.
“Did you see Ben? Oh my goodness. We were going nuts in the finish,” Hudec said. “All in all it was a pretty good day for the team.”
Thomsen’s previous best World Cup result was a 16th-place finish in the downhill in Val Gardena, Italy, in 2010.