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 . world ski news
23 January 2009 - 13:55
From broken hand to Victory on the Hahnenkamm: Kroell takes win in SG
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One by one they came down the Super G course looking to see the number “1” flash up on the big Rolex screens. By the time racer number 26, Klaus Kroell from Austria, left the start, some of the crowd had already started to leave, believing that victory had already been decided. For Kroell, who just the previous week had broken three bones in his right hand, a top five was all he hoped for coming into the race. Despite losing a little time at the start, due to not being able to push off fully with his hand, Kroell managed to hold the line and gain speed. With Switzerland's Ambrosi Hoffman having held the lead only to be deposed by Norway's Aksel Lund Svindal, Kroell gave the cheering Austrians the victory that they had hoped for.

Rolex Testimonee Hermann Maier, the acknowledged Master of Kitzbuehel Super G, skied an exemplary top section yet lost a lot of speed lower down: “It was not so bad, I guess, some sections were great but the lower section was not great and that is the reason for this position,” explained Maier. Maier, who had never previously finished lower than second in the Kitzbuehel Super G, has to be content with 12th, less than a second off the win he craved.

“For me this is unbelievable, my biggest dream come true,” explained an emotional Klaus Kroell. “For me it has been a big dream to win Kitzbuehel,” Kroell declared as he took in the atmosphere of winning his first World Cup race. “I saw Ambrosi go out the start and he pushed a lot, so I knew I had to push a lot as well. But because of my hand, I could not push that much so I lost a little, and then I pushed with the skis. From then on it was a perfect run,” Kroell admitted.

The changing weather that had seen the race bathed in perfect conditions earlier on in the day gave way to flat light the longer the race went on.

Super G RESULTS
1. Klauss Kroell (AUT) 1:12.78
2. Aksel Lund Svindal (NOR) 1:13.00
3. Ambrosi Hoffman (SUI) 1:13.17
4. Didier Cuche (SUI) 1:13.21
5. Peter Fill (ITA) 1:13.33

12. Hermann Maier (AUT) 1:13.50

The evolution of time: Bringing technology to the forefront

The concept of the Race is simple: The fastest man from top to bottom is the winner. This is straightforward. The cooperation between the Kitzbueheler Ski Club as the host, Precision Timing as the timing provider, Seltec as the data organiser and Rolex as the sponsor brings four partners together, all have the same goal: To provide the best possible service. In the words of Precision Timings Ted Savage: “The partnership with the Kitzbueheler Ski Club and Rolex brings the ‘Best in the World’ together.”

Savage explains that racing is all about “performance that is relevant to time” and the evolution of ideas and concepts brings more excitement to the viewer. The service orientated product that is created for the Hahnenkamm weekend is not available at any other World Cup ski race and is unique to Kitzbuehel. From the moment the racer breaks the wand and starts his descent down the Streif, there is an abundance of information available to the media, the television commentator and all the way around the world to the television viewer, as well as on the hill to the coaches situated along the course. According to Savage, coaches can even use touch screens that are set up to pick up data that is relevant to their racers including acceleration out of the start gate, speed at the first major hurdle- the Mausefalle- and then the deceleration through the Laerchenschuss, all available to the coaches as soon as it has happened. For the fans watching the race from the finish area or on television, the Rolex Speedometer is also visible, showing how fast the racers go. American Scott McCartney was logged at 142km/h last year and the fastest in training this year was France’s David Poisson, at just shy of 140km/h.

The technology that all of this involves is incredible. Sitting in the Zielhaus next to the audio and TV studios of ORF, the Austrian broadcaster, the Precision Timing team and Seltec’s team coordinate a group of twenty spread out along the course. They have all worked together over the years at many events and offer an extremely professional service. Two four-kilometre long cables send the data down from the start to the finish, and then a mixture of fibre optics and hardwire sends the information out to the world. The data is collected through nine sensor points and four radar systems throughout the course. Once collected, the data is sent outbound to the Commentator Information System (CIS) and the waiting world through the use of radar, photo cell systems and hill management systems.

It is all about being the best in the world and this year there are a number of exciting new developments that can be seen on the course. By using a stroboscopic platform, in this case a flash of green light, spectators can see exactly when the racer breaks the wand and leaves the new starting area. The acceleration profile available on the TV screens last year will also be available in 2009. According to Savage, this is a “moment of external transparency that you just do not see in the sports timing at other events.” Commentators and viewers alike can also see the speed at which the racers leave the Mausefalle, just a few seconds after the start. Savage explains: “This is unique technology that Kitzbuehel has allowed us to evolve in partnership with Rolex and is typical of Kitzbuehel in that you will not see this anywhere else.” As the racer flies over the Hausbergkante and down the Zielschuss into the finish, the Rolex speedometer gives the thousands of fans watching an idea of just how fast the racers are going.

Precision Timing and their partner Seltec are constantly testing out new ideas and listening to what Kitzbuehel would like. Savage explains: “We would not be able to do these things unless Rolex were willing to be as avant garde about this as they are or as accepting as a sponsor. As technologists, what we bring to the table are independent views and expertise that work off one another and as a triad we push the event forward. We then inject into this, the point of view of the historic ski club of Kitzbuehel. This brings a solution that you just will not see anywhere else.”

Surrounded by a bank of laptops and a few desktops with larger drives, Savage explains that the race is “an athletic test of very pure dynamics, it requires a certain appreciation of the basics and evolves beyond that.” While the fans soak up the information provided in the graphics, the teams need the information to discover where the racer is winning and losing time. Peter Gridling from Seltec explains this further: “The teams do not realise quite what we can do for them. They need to learn what we can do for them.” Savage adds that “the information is available straight away and is instantaneous.” For the future, as telecommunications develop, there are plans for the coaches and athletes to be able to log on to the internet and access this information. At the moment, as per the request of the live communication portals, the information output on the screen is limited.

While the Hahnenkamm weekend is the most exciting weekend on the FIS Audi Alpine Skiing World Cup, the development of the technology behind the scenes means that the waiting world, watching both at the race and around the world, can access information up to the thousandth of a second at the touch of button. From the moment the racer leaves the start to the moment he leans forward to break the beam at the bottom, the information deliverance is constantly evolving through the use of technology.

Timing and data are integral parts of the whole event and the collaboration with Rolex and Kitzbuehel means, in the words of Seltec’s Peter Gridling, “We want to show the best overview they can get!” Ted Savage sums up the whole relationship between the various partners, and in particular the Kitzbueheler Ski Club, when he says, “They drive the event and lead the world.” Kitzbuehel is unique and with the Rolex sponsorship, the event leads the world with its use of technology.

January 23, 2009
Hahnenkamm-Race
Kitzbuehel, Austria
January 23 - 25, 2009


 
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Next:
Half-pipe gold to Liu (CHN) and Aono (JPN) – 23 January 2009 - 18:37
Dominique Gisin, Lindsey Vonn finish 1-2 in Cortina downhill – 24 January 2009 - 13:16
Defago calls the shots to be the King of Kitzbuehel – 24 January 2009 - 14:54
Markku Koski (FIN) takes title in big air – 24 January 2009 - 17:19
Marcialonga under the Scandinavian banner again – 25 January 2009 - 13:24

Previous:
An amazing day 1 for the Nissan Russian Adventure 2009 in Sochi – 23 January 2009 - 13:53
Miller wins final training in Kitz – 23 January 2009 - 11:20
Walchhofer sets fastest time in opening training run at Hahnenkamm-Race – 22 January 2009 - 12:38
Fresh snow cancels first training run of Hahnenkamm-Race, Experience brings rewards – 22 January 2009 - 12:35
Hermann Maier: The clock ticks on to Gold Time – 22 January 2009 - 12:33

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