Hans Olsson, from Sweden, is quickly becoming the top favourite for the World Cup Downhill race on Saturday on the Saslong. Having clocked the best time during yesterday’s first training run, Olsson proved his top form with a dream run today, leaving the other competitors far behind.
Olsson, who has not yet won a World Cup race, has shown with his two best times in the practice runs for the 50th Gardena/Gröden World Cup Downhill race, that this year on his favourite piste, he is among the top favourites. Whereas yesterday the time gaps separating the athletes were relatively small, with today’s dream run Olsson has created a big time delay between him and the rest of the racers. Olsson was 1.22 seconds faster than second-placed Klaus Kröll (AUT) and 1.76 seconds faster than third-placed Tobias Stechert (GER). Jan Hudec (CAN) in 6th place finished more than 2 seconds behind Olsson.
"I can't explain my lead. I felt I skied very well, but I can hardly believe I was so fast," Hans Olsson said after having clocked the fastest time.
The fresh snow made the slope a bit less icy and this suited the Swede: “I don’t like it when the piste is too icy. Today the slope was like a dance floor. I felt as though I was dancing into the Finish.”
However, Olsson is still very modest about being a favourite: “I realize that some people see me as a favourite. I don’t see it like that, even if I now know that I can ski fast and my self-confidence has increased.”
The best team was surely Austria, with three athletes among the top ten: Kröll (2nd), Romed Baumann (5th) and Joachim Puchner (9th). The best Italian skier today was Christoph Innerhofer, placed 11th and 2.49 seconds behind. Werner Heel (ITA) finished 14th, 2.66 seconds behind Olsson.
The piste was much faster compared to yesterday. With 1:57.48 minutes, Olsson beat his own best time by 5 seconds!!! Today he was roughly as fast as Silvan Zurbriggen (SUI) when he won the race last year. Whether the piste on Saturday will be as fast as today, depends on the weather. Tomorrow the weather service has predicted some snow fall. Fresh snow makes the piste slow but also more dangerous and must therefore be well cleared before the start of the race. We can only hope that it doesn’t snow too much so that the race can start on time.