Marco Sullivan Career Best 5th at Val Gardena

Posted By: Zeke Piestrup on December 19, 2008 12:00 pm

Comeback stories always inspire, and Marco Sullivan is the U.S. Ski Team’s comeback kid.  Sully, as he’s known on the tour, has missed two full seasons due to dreaded ACL injuries.  But, from the depths of injury despair, Sullivan has risen to post two career-best 5th place finishes on this year’s World Cup Tour.  Three weeks ago, Sullivan finished 5th at the Lake Louise Super G, and today Sullivan skied a nearly flawless run to put up another 5th place finish in Val Gardena, Italy.  "It was a crazy race. I was happy with my performance. I skied really well," Sullivan said. "I had one mistake, but minus that it was really solid skiing. I was excited to have that kind of consistency in super G."

As is the case on the World Cup, conditions play a big factor.  Italy’s Werner Heel can thank the Weather Gods for the window of light wind provided to him on his second run.  The 26-year-old took advantage and scored his second World Cup victory of his career.  Switzerland’s Didier Defago was second, and the grandpa of the tour, Patrik Jaerbyn of Sweden, filled out the rest of the podium.

Also of note, TJ Lanning of Park City, started 54th and finished an incredible 16th, one better than U.S. superstar Bode Miller.  In ski racing, where racers are all hitting the same line, courses get torn-up quickly.  To start so far back in the field, essentially 53 racers in front of him creating unfavorable ruts, to finish 16th is indeed a large accomplishment.  "He skied out of his mind. He attacked the course and was perfect after starting way back. Up to the very last split he was second – that’s how fast he skied," Men’s Alpine Head coach Sasha Rearick said. "He tried to take an aggressive line on the last jump and it pushed him so he had to throw the brakes on to make the gate. But, he was skiing tremendously and to pull that kind of time was unbelievable. We’re really excited."

The marquee event, the classic Val Gardena downhill, is scheduled for Saturday.

Zeke Piestrup ( More Posts)

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