Aksel Lund Svindal (NOR) captures the first training run on the Saslong. The Norwegian clocked a time of 1:58.73 minutes after placing in the top three in all of this year’s speed events. Erik Guay (CAN) placed only 0.04 seconds behind Svindal showing that he continues to be a favorite to win on this course. Same for Klaus Kröll, who finished the training ranked 3rd with a delay of 0.1 seconds behind Svindal. Best Italian skier is Dominik Paris from South Tyrol on rank 12.
2nd, 2nd, 1st, 1st: these are the ranks captured by Aksel Svindal in the last four speed races and he is showing in today’s training that he is in top form for the upcoming Super-G and Downhill races. The Norwegian topped the first training run on a rock-hard course barely ahead of Erik Guay and Klaus Kröll. Svindal’s comments on his run: “The course looks really great. There are plenty of good jumps and it is fun to ski. Let’s hope the weather holds, but there is just no guarantee for that.” Second placed Guay says that the jumps will probably be the deciding factor on this course while Kröll adds: “There are at least another five to ten racers who have it in them to take the gold. It’s pretty tight this year but Svindal remains the top favorite. Let’s hope for good weather, which is always the big thing.”
The Italian team already has two speed event golds under its belt with Matteo Marsaglia and Christof Innerhofer but it was clear that the Saslong continues not to be the Italian’s favorite course. Werner Heel was the only one to show a sign of life placing fourth after starting with bib 57 and a delay of 0.22 seconds. Heel already won a Super-G gold here in Gardena/Gröden in 2008.
Another surprise ranking in this training run came from Steven Nyman. This US skier already won gold here on the Saslong but has since slipped to the back of the starting list. He started with bib 42 and clocked a 0.55 second delay showing that he still has it in him to capture a podium ranking.
The second training run is scheduled for tomorrow, Thursday. Start is at 12:15 pm. We will be there reporting live on www.saslong.org.