Theaux fastest in practice for longest World Cup downhill
WENGEN, Switzerland (AP) — Adrien Theaux of France was fastest on a training run for the longest downhill course on the World Cup circuit on Thursday.
Theaux raced the storied, 4.27-kilometer (2-2/3-mile) Lauberhorn hill in just under 2 1/2 minutes, 0.36 seconds faster than Olympic champion Matthias Mayer.
Max Franz, Mayer’s Austria teammate, was third, 0.66 behind Theaux in the second practice for Switzerland’s classic Alpine race on Saturday.
On the fastest section racers see all season, a top speed of 144.2 kph (89.6 mph) was clocked by Hannes Reichelt of Austria. The 2015 winner and three-time runner-up here won Wednesday’s practice run.
The World Cup record of 161.9 kph (100.6 mph) was set at Wengen in 2013 by Frenchman Johan Clarey, who placed sixth on Thursday.
The three-race Wengen meeting opens on Friday with a combined event.
It will start without former Olympic and overall World Cup champion Carlo Janka, who is trying to nurse a serious knee injury without having season-ending surgery.
Janka, a home fans’ favorite who has won downhill and combined events at Wengen, placed 22nd in practice Thursday and 21st on Wednesday in his first public action since tearing his right ACL in a training crash in October.
The Swiss team said the 31-year-old Janka has decided he is not ready to race this weekend.
Janka has targeted an unlikely qualification for the Feb. 9-25 Pyeongchang Games, having won a World Cup super-G at Jeongseon in 2016. It was one of only two men’s test event races on the Olympic speed course.