Didier Cuche from Switzerland already calls two silver Downhill medals his own here in Gardena-Gröden but this year he is determined to push through to the top. He communicated as much at this first day of training. Further in the lead are Austrians Klaus Kröll and Michi Walchhofer.
The Saslong course is faster than ever this year. This is what we hear from athletes including current leader Didier Cuche. He clocked a time of 2:00:60 minutes, just 0.33 seconds ahead last year’s set by Manuel Osborne-Paradis.
Cuche has won a World Cup race in Gardena-Gröden before, but not in this most classic of all speed disciplines, the Downhill. He is going for gold in the Downhill. Following Cuche are Klaus Kröll and Michael Walchhofer. The latter is probably full of tips on how to capture gold as he has won in this venue three times, including twice in the Downhill.
Mario Schreiber, another fellow Austrian, has been skiing very strongly until he missed a bump and promptly landed in the safety nets. Luckily he did not get hurt and reached the Finish on his own skis. Werner Heel was somewhat unfortunate starting after Scheiber as he was forced to a brief involuntary pit-stop along the course before completing the run. Best Italian skier was Christof Innerhofer placing 6th among a group of well-seasoned skiers. Peter Fill from a neighbouring town placed 11th.
Next on the program here in Gardena-Gröden is the 2nd Training Run tomorrow. Start, as usual, at 12:15 pm. The on-line team will be at your service with a live ticker.