'Angry' Clarey rails at Kitzbuehel organisers after gruesome crash

Robin GREMMEL
·2 min read

French veteran Johan Clarey has admitted to feeling "angry" at organisers over a savage final jump of the Kitzbuehel World Cup downhill that was scene of a gruesome crash Friday.

Clarey himself crashed in Thursday's training, but he dusted down his catsuit to finish an impressive fourth in a downhill won by Switzerland's Beat Feuz, but which was marked by two heavy crashes.

In-form American Ryan Cochran-Siegle and Swiss racer Urs Kryenbuehl both hit the deck in a wind-interrupted race that saw only the first 30 racers compete.

Kryenbuehl's crash was particularly horrific, the 26-year-old overpitching as he hit the final jump which propels the racers 80 metres in the air in a spectacular ending to the most gruelling race on the World Cup circuit.

Travelling at 146 km/h (91 mph), one of Kryenbuehl's skis snapped on impact as his head ricocheted off the compacted snow, his crumpled body sliding over the finish line in a messy heap.

Medics were quickly on the scene and he was evacuated by helicopter to hospital.

"I'm angry at the organisers and the FIS (international ski federation)," said Clarey, at 40 the elder statesman of elite racers.

"It's been two days we've been asking to shave the last bump, which is too long.

"You fly 80 metres, arriving at 145 km/h on it."

- 'Too fast' -

Clarey added: "We ask them to shave it and in the morning's recce it wasn't lowered. I find them at fault over that.

"It's a mistake because we all asked for it. Today, when I see what Urs (Kryenbuehl) did... I think we have to find solutions to slow down because we were really going too fast.

"The slightest error means there's going to be drama."

And therein lies the conundrum for ski racers: the risk management needed to implement on a course like the Streif, balancing the aggression needed to tackle the testing slope with the limits to which you can physically push yourself.

Kryenbuehl adds his name to a long list of other racers who have crashed at the same spot, including American Scott Macartney in 2008, fellow Swiss Daniel Albrecht in 2009 and Austrian Hans Grugger two years later.

Feuz, who won Friday's race ahead of Austrian Matthias Mayer and Italian Dominik Paris, said Kryenbuehl's crash had "brought back terrible memories of Daniel Albrecht".

"I hope to have reassuring news from him. This jump was easy to correct, but it apparently wasn't done," the Swiss added.

"There has to be a final finish jump, it's Kitzbuehel, but maybe not that long... It must be reworked from the first training."

rg/lp/td