The Streif. The most feared word in the alpine skiing world and for a good reason. As one of the most spectacular downhill races and without a doubt the most dangerous one, it brings a lot of deserved attention once it takes place in January each year. Fear and doubts have no place on this Austrian slope where only the best and the most fearless athletes succeed. With speeds that would get you a speeding ticket and conditions that come as close as it can get to extreme sports, this is without a doubt the one race no alpine skiing fan would want to miss and a milestone for all the “rookies” in the alpine skiing World Cup to finish.
The 24th race of men’s alpine skiing 2018/19 season is ahead of us which will also mark the 6th Downhill event this season. Men are travelling from Wengen where they competed in alpine combined, downhill and slalom events from 18th till 20th of January to Austria, more specifically Kitzbühl where the icy Streif is awaiting the best skiing athletes in the world.
Looking back at the last race, we saw a surprise at the top spot in Slalom race where stood no other than Clement Noel, who won in front of Manuel Feller and Marcel Hirscher by only a fraction of a second. This win for Clement Noel was the 1st win of his career and a huge accomplishment, with his best result to that date being a 2nd place finish in Adelboden slalom race only a week before. Manuel Feller who has finished on the podium 2 times in his career added the 3rd podium in Wengen, where he finished only 0.08s behind Clement Noel. This was also his 2nd podium this season after the 3rd place in Zagreb on January 6th. At the 3rd spot stood Marcel Hirscher who was 0.10s too slow for the French skier. This was the 2nd slalom event this season Hirscher failed to win. Nonetheless, he is still 176 points ahead of Daniel Yule in the Slalom standings with his 4 victories and a 3rd place in Wengen.
A day prior to the slalom event in Wengen men competed in a downhill race, which was won by Vincent Kriechmayr, followed by Beat Feuz (+0.14s) and Aleksander Aamodt Kilde at the 3rd place (+0.26s). As of now, Beat Feuz is leading the downhill standings with 340 points, followed by Vincent Kriechmayr (249 points) and Max Franz (222).
The 2nd and last training took place on 24th of January with many surprises. but first, let’s check how the skiers performed in the 1st training run on 22nd January. The first training which took place on 22nd January, which was the day skiers had to try out the legendary Streif for the first time this season. Matthias Mayer, the 2 times Olympic champion was the skier who performed the best on that day, setting a winning time of 1:57:44, which is a surprising result, especially if we take into consideration he has crashed in the alpine combined race and failed to finish the downhill race in Wengen. As of now, Mayer is 15th in the downhill standings, but with the performance like he showed on that day he surely deserves to be higher up. Benjamin Thomsen finished 2nd, which was an impressive run from this Canadian races who sits at the 14th spot in the downhill standings as of today. At the 3rd place, we saw another Austrian skier, Daniel Danklmaier. Despite good weather on the first training day, the second one was moved to January 24th due to a bad weather forecast. On the 2nd training day, Hannes Reichelt finished the race with the fastest time. His good performance is that much more impressive due to the fact he has suffered a career-ending crash in 2016 on this course. Despite that, he went down the course without any fear and which paid off for him. Finishing the training at the 2nd place we saw Matteo Marsaglia who ended the training 0.23s behind Reichelt. At the 3rd place, we saw the skier who is among the racers most likely to win tomorrow, Dominik Paris. The 2-time winner of downhill at Kitzbűhl finished the first training 4th on the 1st day and 3rd on the 2nd training day which is a promising result going into the race day, after winning the Bormio downhill race and finishing 3rd in Lake Louise this season.
Each of the venues has its own personality, but no other can match the Streif in Kitzbühl. Described as many skiers as scary, raw and challenging there are only a few people in the world that experience it first hand, some even too well… The Streif has a rich history behind it, with the good and the bad and we can never know what kind of memories it will bring each year. But one thing is for sure; it’s a race worth watching and for skiers an experience they most likely will never forget.
A video that perfectly describes the Streif:
With both training days behind us, the athletes had had a good chance to get to know the Streif where they will compete tomorrow at 11:30 am. Now let’s check who are the favourites and our predictions who will win the “Super Bowl” of alpine skiing on 25th of January.
Vincent Kriechmayer, winner of the most recent downhill race in Wengen on January 19th is hoping to make it 2 in a row tomorrow in Kitzbühl. If he manages to do so, he would become the first racer to win 2 successive World Cup downhill races since Aksel Lund Svindal who won in Beaver Creek and Val Gardena in December 2017. Alongside Max Franz, who won in Lake Louise, they can become the first Austrian skiers to win multiple downhill races in one World Cup season since Hannes Reichelt in 2014/15 when he won 3. While Austrian skiers won on the Streif 23 times in history, which is currently a record, they have seen only 1 Austrian skier winning here in the last 11 seasons. That man was no other than Hannes Reichelt on January 25th 2014.
Beat Feuz finished on the podium in the downhill races 9 times in the last 10 races, which includes a podium finish in the each of the last 4 downhill events. The only exception to that this season was a 6th place finish in Lake Louise. In the last race in Wengen, he finished 2nd 0.14s behind Vincent Kriechmayr and 0.12s in front of Aleksander Aamodt Kilde. At Kitzbühl, Feuz has collected a total of 2 World Cup podiums, both 2nd places in 2016 and 2018. Among all the active ski racers, Feuz (8 wins) is the 3rd most successful, behind Dominik Paris (9 wins) and Aksel Lund Svindal (14 wins).
Despite winning 14 World Cup downhill races in his career, the Kitzbühl is one of the few venues where Aksel Lund Svindal has not finished 1st yet. His best result at the Streif was 2nd place on January 25th 2014. Last season he finished 8th at this venue, 1.12s behind Thomas Dressen. Svindal has already won a Super-G event in Kitzbühl, which means if he can win the downhill event as well, he would become one of the few skiers to win both downhill and super-g events at Kitzbühl.
Dominik Paris is currently 4th in the downhill standings with 220 points, which is 120 shy of reaching Beat Feuz at the top spot. In Kitzbühl he has won twice in his career (2013,2017), but only managed to reach the 12th spot finish last season. If he manages to win here tomorrow, he would join Franz Heinzer, Karl Schranz, Luc Alphand and Primin Zurbrigger who all won 3 times at this venue. Among active ski racers, Dominik Paris has the 2nd most downhill wins in his career with 9 World Cup wins.
|Market||Prediction||Pinnacle Odds||Bet 365 Odds||Stake||Won / Lost|
|Outright||Dominik Paris||3.860||3.75||1 Unit||Won|
|Outright||Vincent Kriechmayr||7.330||8.00||1 Unit||Lost|