Weibrecht 20th after super combined downhill

KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia – Andrew Weibrecht was sitting in 20th position this morning following the downhill portion of the men’s Olympic super combined at the Rosa Khutor Alpine Center.

The 28-year-old Lake Placid native crossed the finish line in 1:55.33, 2.09 seconds behind Kjetil Jansrud of Norway. He’ll start 11th in the slalom portion of the super combined, set for this afternoon.

The top U.S. skier in the downhill portion of the super combined was Bode Miller, who won the super combined at the Vancouver Olympics four years ago. He placed 12th in 1:54.67. Olympic rookie Jared Goldberg took 15th in 1:54.90. Ted Ligety, the 2006 Olympic champion and last year’s World Cup champion in combined, finished 18th in 1:55.17.

Ligety will start 13th in the slalom, Goldberg 16th and Miller 19th.

The downhill portion of the super combined was moved up from 11 a.m. to 10 a.m. in the hope that the hill, beset by several days of sunshine and warm temperatures in recent days, would be more firm.

Weibrecht said the snow conditions were pretty soft in some areas by the time he hit the course wearing bib number 23.

“It’s definitely, at the end of the meadow and into the sort of bear jump area, it takes a big change, pretty noticeable,” he said. “It gets super soft and it’s pretty bumpy. Kind of nasty down there.”

“The middle and bottom was soft,” said Miller. “The sun’s just cooking it up there, and that didn’t play for any of us.”

Ligety noted that most of the top finishers in the race had the earliest start times, before the course started to bake in the sun.

“That’s not a surprise, when it’s this hot,” Ligety said. “We all knew it was a factor. I skied hard and I skied pretty well. I’m happy with where I am. I think I have a good chance where I am.”

While the conditions might not be ideal, Weibrecht said the team trains for this kind of snow.

“We have in camps in Chile at the end of their winter, when it’s pretty springy,” he said. “You sort of just get it built into your summer training program. You need to train everything because ski racing and the weather is never really the same two days in a row.”

Asked if he thinks Miller or Ligety could contend for the podium, Weibrecht said yes.

“Bode when he puts a slalom run together, he’s so fast,” he said. “Ted has the ability to make some good runs. But it is tough right now because there’s some really solid slalom skiers at the front. We’ll see what happens but I think it will be an exciting race.”

The slalom is set to begin at 3:30 p.m. Sochi time. The times of both the downhill and slalom runs will be added together to determine the Olympic champion.

Contact Chris Knight at 891-2600 ext. 24 or cknight@adirondackdailyenterprise.com.