Walchhofer leads first training on Stelvio

27 December 2009 16:40

Michael Walchhofer led the very first training for the Bormio World Cup downhill on Sunday. The 34-year-old Salzburg native set the best time on the icy and extremely selective Stelvio.

Only the Slovenian Andrej Jerman, 0.16 seconds behind, managed to keep up with Walchhofer. Third placed Christoph Gruber already lost 0.71 seconds. Walchhofer won twice in Bormio in 2006 and finished third last year.

The Swiss took the ranks four to six with Didier Defago, Tobias Grünenfelder and Lake Louise winner Didier Cuche.

Aksel Lund Svindal, sitting in third in the overall World Cup rankings, belongs to the circle of top favorites. Despite his chaotic travels to Italy including delays, missed flights and missing luggage and having spent his 27th birthday on Boxing Day at the airport, Svindal finished relatively strong ex aequo with last year's winner Christophe Innerhofer in ninth position.

As a year ago, it has been raining heavily in Bormio before the race. However, the Stelvio presented itself less brutal as last year, when the track was completely covered with ice, especially in the lower part.