The Swede Hans Olsson left all the top contenders behind in the first training run in Val Gardena and clocked the fastest time with 2:02.42 minutes. Behind Olsson, Bode Miller (USA) and Romed Bauman (AUT) both raced into the second position 0.35 seconds off. The training had to be interrupted a number of times due to fog.
The first training run in Val Gardena started with a few minutes delay because a fog bank was compromising the visibility in the upper part of the course. The fog cleared up for the best racers so that the training run could be carried out in acceptable conditions. Peter Fill was the first to descend. The South Tyrolean like the rest of the Italians was, however, not one of the fastest today and landed 2.52 seconds back. The best Italian was Werner Heel who raced into the 14th position 1.35 seconds off.
The top contenders didn’t let themselves be surprised today. Bode Miller, Didier Cuche und Aksel Lund Svindal tested the key sections to the full and landed in the top field. Only the Olsson from Sweden was faster than the top skiers. The Swede, who always skis well in Val Gardena and who likes the current conditions, said after his run: “I had a good feeling in the finish area, but feelings, as we know, can often be deceiving. I love every jump here in Val Gardena, the Saslong is my favourite course.”
The first eight of the training run standings are only 1.03 seconds apart. The Val Gardena downhill 2011 will once again be a close matter.
Like these last years the winner will probably be one of the more experienced racers. Only the German Tobias Stechert (0.39 seconds back) and the Austrian Joachim Puchner (0.71 seconds back) were able to do well. ““I’m quite happy with the training run. The piste was very soft, hopefully it will get a little harder for the race. It is difficult to say if this training was important, but at the end of the day, everybody has the same conditions.”
Here in Val Gardena the second training run will continue tomorrow (12.15) – weather permitting.