Maiden win for Bostjan Kline at Kvitfjell 2017
By Patrick Lang.
Ten years after Andrej Jerman celebrated the first ever Slovenian downhill victory on the men's World Cup tour at Garmisch-Partenkirchen, his younger colleague Bostjan Kline enjoyed his maiden triumph on the circuit at Kvitfjell, finishing ahead of some of the best speed specialists of the current season on the sunbathed 'Olympia Bakke Run' at Kvitfjell.
Kline, 26 in two weeks, beat by 19/100 of a second the reigning Olympic Champion Matthias Mayer while local hero Kjetil Jansrud came in 3rd in front of the new Super-G World Champion Erik Guay. Beat Feuz, who clinched gold at St Moritz in downhill two weeks ago came in 7th.
Kline, 7th recently at St Moritz in that specialty, reached twice the podium last season yet he has had a difficult season so far after finishing 4th and 5th in Val d'Isère in downhill and Super-G early December. He had to wait the end of January 2017 to finally achieve another top-10 result in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
"It surely feels good, I have been fighting hard for this," Kline told the press after his race. "The whole season I knew that I can ski good, that I can ski fast, yet I was not able to prove in on race-day. You know, I just had to be patient and today, everything came together with the skiing, the start routine, warm-up and everything. It was ups and downs during this season, hot and cold. There were things that were really good but I had some mistakes in my runs but now it was good."
"This victory means a lot to me after those two podium results I got last winter. I was aiming for it and my team too. There was a lot of expectation and I'm very proud to finally have been able to do it here -especially finishing in front of some of the finest specialists in the event."
Great satisfaction too for Austria's Matthias Mayer, the winner last January in Kitzbühel's treacherous Super-G race - he didn't reach any podium at St. Moritz where he only finished a distant 11th in downhill in Switzerland.
The 26-year-old speed specialist, who started in 18th position, was happy to get back on the podium for the first time since his major crash and back injury at Val Gardena two years ago. "I really needed the time in downhill to give everything, to risk everything," he comments afterwards. "If you don't do that, you can't be on the podium. I'm very happy about my run today because it feels great to be back with these guys, to be one of the fastest here."
It was also sort of comeback for Kjetil Jansrud who has been quite sick in past weeks during the FIS Worlds at St Moritz where he had to be content with a silver medal in Super-G before being 4th in downhill.
"A podium finish is always good, especially when you race on home snow," the Norwegian downhiller said. "I feel much better than in Switzerland yet still not at my best level so this result is fine for me. I am also happy to recover the red leader bib in the specialty as the Italian racers didn't do so well today, yet there are still two more races to go so I need to remain focus and determined. I can imagine that the battle will continue until the finals at Aspen," also said Kjetil, 2nd and 5th at Garmisch-Partenkirchen in the last World Cup downhill races.
Another downhill is scheduled for Saturday - hopefully it can start from the very top this time. It was not possible today because of strong gusts of wind which forced the organizers to use the reserved start.