Romed Baumann and Andreas Sander on ski podium
ROmed Baumann and Andreas Sander raised their arms one after the other, Vincent Kriechmayr standing between them applauded appreciatively. The German alpine men showed a strong performance in the last descent of the season and surprisingly clinched two more podium places. Baumann was defeated by the Austrian Kriechmayr in Andorra second on Wednesday, Sander third – what an exclamation point for the German downhill skiers, who have been in such a crisis at times this winter.
It feels “sensational,” said Bauman. It was “madness”, Sander added. While Kira Weidle finished ninth when Slovenian Ilka Stuhec won the women’s downhill, her male teammates were already enjoying their first cold drinks in the finish area. The last time there were two Germans on an alpine World Cup podium was in 2014 in the slalom of Madonna di Campiglio, in the men’s downhill it is the first time since 1992.
For Baumann it was the first World Cup podium in a little over eight years. He “mercilessly exploited” his starting number one this time, said the 37-year-old. In addition, Sander’s second place in the Aspen Super-G ten days earlier had inspired him again, the veteran explained. “It’s so cool” to be on the podium with the 33-year-old in Soldeu, said Baumann. In December he finished sixth in the Beaver Creek downhill. After that, there was less light than shadow in his season.
Also sanders experienced some disappointments this winter, sometimes struggled with his material. Towards the end, however, the form curve of the Ennepetaler pointed upwards again. He felt very good, he reported after his drive on Wednesday. “An incredibly awesome team success” is that for the Germans. Whether athletes, coaches or service people – despite the interim setbacks, everyone stayed tuned.
Baumann and Sander, who will start again in the Super-G on Thursday, did not get past one of the two dominators of the premier class, but this time they did not get past. For Kriechmayr it was the fourth win of the season. Aleksander Aamodt Kilde won the other six downhill runs of the winter. Even before the race, the Norwegian was the overall winner in the fastest of all disciplines. This time he was sixth. He was 0.17 seconds short of the podium. That, for once, was firmly in German hands.