Alpine skiing: Kriechmayr gets the gold as Baumann springs a surprise

·2 min read
FIS Alpine World Ski Championships Men's Super-G

CORTINA D'AMPEZZO, Italy (Reuters) - Austria's Vincent Kriechmayr survived a late scare to take the first major gold medal of his career in a tough men's super-G at the Alpine skiing world championships on Thursday.

Former Austrian racer Romed Baumann seized silver for Germany with a time 0.07 slower after a storming run from 20th on the start list.

His performance pushed France's World Cup overall leader Alexis Pinturault, better known for his technical skiing, down to bronze -- his first medal in a pure speed discipline.

Starting fifth, Kriechmayr had already had to keep his focus after the first three racers were upset by the opening jump on Cortina d'Ampezzo's tricky new Vertigine piste and failed to finish.

"I watched the guys performing with bib one, two, three and they all missed the gate so it was a really tough race for me," he said.

Baumann, 35, was the first skier of the modern era to win world championship medals with two different countries, having taken a bronze in combined for Austria in 2013 on home snow in Schladming.

"It’s pretty special. It’s good to give something back. They (Germany) took me when I was down and they believed in me and it’s a great feeling," said the skier, who started the year way down the rankings.

"I thought if I have a chance, it’s going to be in downhill but to make it on the first day, it’s amazing," added Baumann.

Italy's big hope Dominik Paris, the defending world champion in the discipline, finished fifth behind Canadian Brodie Seger -- fourth with a 28th starting bib -- and Austria's Olympic champion Matthias Mayer in sixth.

"I was ready to compete for a medal today, but unfortunately I made a big mistake at the top," said Mayer.

Nine of the top 30 starters failed to finish on a hard and icy course set by Italian Alberto Ghidone.

The super-G on a cold and sunny afternoon was the first men's race of a championships whose opening three days were blown out by snow, wind and fog in the Italian Dolomites. The women's super-G was run in the morning.

The two-week championships are being held without fans due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Toby Davis and Ken Ferris)