How significant is a fast time in the training run for predicting who will do well in a race? It seems to me that the winner of the training run often does not do much in the actual competition. Am I only remembering the times that stand out because the training run winner's time seems to drop like a rock on race day? Lindsey Vonn seems to dominate both training runs and races, but she's in a class by herself. On the Men's World Cup I don't see any consistent pattern. I know that often a racer does well in the important middle sections during training but stands up at the end and even starts slowly, so I study the middle section times, but even there I'm often taken back. Skiers who I thought had fast times for the middle sections on the last Bird's of Prey not only didn't win, but weren't in the top five.
Are training run times just something the media makes a big thing about, but which really don't say anything about who will be fast on race day? Werner Heel said as much today. What do you watch for if anything?