The duo was only one hundredth of a second ahead of third-placed norwegian aksel lund svindal on saturday in bormio in italy. Fourth place went to austrian klaus kroll, who was just another hundredth of a second off the podium.
As the best german skier, stephan keppler finished eleventh on the 3270-long and demanding stelvio slope. Keppler thus met half of the world championship standard. In the crazy race he had finished at the same time as the italian peter fill. "This is the first step towards qualification. I can look to the future with confidence," said keppler, already looking ahead to two more classics. "Now wengen and kitzbuhel can come here."Andreas sander remained in 32nd place. Behind the points and expectations back. Of the two bormio debutants, anton lindebner came in 48th place. Into the finish, philipp zepnik dropped out.
"This was a very pleasing result on the downhill side," alpine director wolfgang maier said of keppler’s performance. "To finish eleventh in such close competition is an achievement that deserves respect."
Never before has there been a closer world cup decision in the men’s race. Only in the women’s race was it even closer once before. In the super-G in hafjell/kvitfjell in norway in 2006, three female skiers finished in first place. The winners were michaela dorfmeister (austria), nadia styger (switzerland) and lindsey vonn (USA), who was still competing under her maiden name of kildow. Fourth place went to kelly vanderbeek (canada), just one hundredth of a second behind her.
There was another triple victory in the women’s giant slalom in solden in 2002: nicole hosp (austria), tina maze (slovenia) and andrine flemmen (norway) shared the top spot on the podium.
Not only the spectators were amazed, but also the athletes themselves. When he crossed the finish line with a gap of 0.01 seconds and third place on the scoreboard, svindal, who was weak due to illness, suspected a mistake on the board: the minimum gap should have been enough for at least second place. "I’ve never experienced anything like it," svindal marveled. "But i am satisfied, i was the third fastest today. I’m glad it’s only a hundredth of a jerk – my strength was at its end."The super-G olympic champion extended his lead in the overall standings.
Kroll in fourth place could hardly believe it either. "You feel a bit like the fool of the day", said the austrian. For kroll it was no consolation that he had the hundredths of a second on his side in the closest men’s decision in the world cup so far. In march he won the super-G in kvitfjell/norway at the same time as swiss beat feuz. Third place went to norwegian kjetil jansrud, who was already 0.03 seconds behind.