Svindal smoothest in 1st Val Gardena training
VAL GARDENA/GROEDEN, Italy – After an intense weekend of tech races on the icy Face de Bellevarde in Val d’Isere, it’s now time for the speed racers to get back into racing mode. Teams packed up and hit the road to Italy. Just over 700km later, they were greeted by one of the most famous slopes on the World Cup Tour, the Saslong.
Last year’s races took place in rough weather conditions, and Organizers were forced to shorten the downhill course in order not to loose the race. With a lot of effort from all the parties involved, Aksel Lund Svindal and Steven Nyman were able to celebrate their victories in super-G and downhill, respectively.
Luckily this year racers were greeted by ideal weather for the first training run. Weather might not have brought any surprises, but as FIS Race Director Günter Hujara announced at Tuesday’s Team Captain’s meeting, the slope hid a few surprises for the skiers.
“Although the conditions were not easy in the last days and weeks, the Organizers have once again managed to prepare a great slope. This year there will be even more bumps and waves than in the last years, because there is so little snow.” Hujara commented this year’s race course.
Steven Nyman was the first racer down the course and he fully agreed with Hujara’s prediction.
“There is definitely a lot of air time, the jumps are kicking you up so they seem bigger than in the past,” Nyman said after finishing his run.
“I hope they shave them a bit after today’s training so we can fly straight,” he added.
The American, who has won in Val Gardena twice so far (2006 and 2012), took it easy in the first training and finished 2.75 seconds behind Svindal who paced the first training. Canadian Erik Guay laid down a very solid run, finishing second, 0.41 behind Svindal while Silvan Zurbriggen found his way on the training podium from bib 48, finishing 0.77 behind the leader.
Things ran smoothly for most of the training, but unfortunately Dominik Paris suffered an ugly crash when he got bounced backwards on a bump at the Ciaslat section of the course. He fell and slid into the nets but was able to get up and ski to the finish area despite it was obvious his left leg was hurting. He was immediately attended by his team doctor and walked out of the finish area on his own, showcasing a slight limp. We hope it’s no serious injury and that he will be able to compete in top form on Friday and Saturday!