SOLDEU, Andorra (AP) — It’s been the script all season long in men’s World Cup downhills: If Aleksander Aamodt Kilde doesn’t win, then Vincent Kriechmayr will.
Kriechmayr took advantage of Kilde being slightly off his game at the World Cup Finals on Wednesday to take his fourth race win of the season.
Kriechmayr was fast on the lower half of the 2.6-kilometer (1.6-mile) course to finish 0.09 seconds ahead of Romed Baumann. Andreas Sander was third, 0.13 back.
Kilde finished 0.30 behind in a tie for sixth, though had already retained the season-long World Cup downhill title with six race wins in the discipline. He was presented with his crystal globe trophy after the race.
The final downhill of the World Cup season was also a career farewell for veterans Johan Clarey and Travis Ganong of the United States, who placed 12th and 20th, respectively. Both were greeted in the finish area with showers of Champagne from teammates and friends.
The 42-year-old Clarey retires as the reigning Olympic silver medalist with six runner-up finishes in World Cup downhills but no wins in 151 starts.
The popular Frenchman does, however, hold a World Cup record that might never be beaten when speed is now more controlled on carefully managed courses. Clarey clocked a speed of 162 kph (100.6 mph) in a 2013 race at Wengen, Switzerland.
The fastest speed on Wednesday under perfect blue skies in Andorra was close to 131 kph (81 mph) by Otmar Striedinger, who finish eighth.
Kriechmayr’s 16th career World Cup race win was his ninth in downhill. The 31-year-old Austrian also took gold at the 2021 world championships.
Marco Odermatt, who succeeded Kriechmayr as world champion last month, placed 15th Wednesday. The Swiss star already sealed his second straight overall World Cup title.
Kilde will finish runner-up in the overall standings when the season ends Sunday.
The women’s season-ending World Cup downhill was due to start 30 minutes after the men ended. ___
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