Martin Cater & Mauro Caviezel: These are the wearers of the red jersey
In the extraordinary 2020/21 World Cup winter, only one speed stage has been held so far - that of last weekend in Val d'Isère, France. The winners of the two races, Martin Cater (Slovenia) and Mauro Caviezel (Switzerland), now come to Val Gardena/Gröden with the red jersey in their luggage.
With Martin Cater, a relative newcomer holds the lead in the discipline World Cup after the first of a total of nine downhill races. The 27-year-old took advantage of the situation in Val d'Isère last Sunday and skied to victory in ever-improving conditions with bib number 41. For Cater, who has never finished better than sixth in 94 World Cup starts, it was by far the biggest success of his career.
Whether the Slovenian will be able to repeat his feat of Val d'Isère in Gardena/Gröden is going to be a big challenge. So far, Cater has not yet fully got to grips with the course at the foot of the Sassolungo/Langkofel: in his eight starts on the Saslong, the speed specialist has never finished better than 17th, and his best result in the downhill was only 25th. Should Cater now also shine in Val Gardena/Gröden, he would have two reasons to celebrate: on Sunday, the Slovenian turns 28 - a successful result could be celebrated in the best possible way.
Super-G leader Caviezel among the top favorites
While only a few experts had the leader in the downhill World Cup on their radar, the first-place finisher in the super-G standings is far less surprising - and that despite the fact that he tore his Achilles tendon in June. Last weekend, Switzerland’s Mauro Caviezel raced straight to first place in his first race after the serious injury, kicking off the season in style. The 32-year-old had still won the super-G classification last year without a victory - in Val d'Isère he climbed onto the top step of the podium for the first time ever in his career.
It's no secret that Caviezel has been among the crème de la crème of speed skiers for years. The Swiss, who is regarded as one of the most risky skiers in the ski circuit, is also a strong contender for Friday's super-G: in the last eight super-Gs, Caviezel has never finished worse than fifth, and last year he narrowly missed the podium in fourth place on the Saslong. Caviezel has never finished in the top three in Val Gardena/Gröden - but that could change this weekend...
Photocredit: Martin Cater/Instagram