Steven Nyman is no stranger to Gardena/Gröden: the American won the Downhill on the Saslong six years ago but he has only returned the podium once since then. Today, Nyman made the most of it capturing his second World Cup gold in ever improving visibility conditions despite starting with bib 39. Rob Perko (SLO) surprisingly wins silver. Third is Erik Guay (CAN).
Surprise winners on the Saslong are not rare: who doesn’t remember Markus Foser from Lichtenstein (1993) and Max Rauffer from Germany (2004) who skied to the top of the podium all the way from behind. Steven Nyman skied his 99th World Cup race today coming full circle (no less thanks to an improved visibility on the course) capturing gold in the Sprint Downhill with a winning time of 1:28.82 minutes.
The 45th World Cup Downhill on the Saslong turned into a Sprint Downhill due to heavy snow fall and bad visibility. The race was moved to a 2:10 pm CET and the Start to 2000 m altitude. Going through with the race was made possible thanks to the extraordinary effort by the course preparation team clearing the snow from the course and working since the early hours of the morning.
After completion of the top 30 skiers, the race seemed to be decided with Erik Guay (CAN) being in the lead ahead of the trainings’ fastest Kjetil Jansrud and Aksel Lund Svindal (both NOR). Suddenly visibility took a turn for the better and the first to make the most of it was Rok Perko (SLO): he took the lead with a 5/100 second margin starting with bib 35 and already basking in his glory. That dream was short-lived, however, as it was Steven Nyman’s (USA) turn. He finished ahead of Perko by 19/100 seconds. That sealed the podium, with Jansrud and Svindal on place 4 and 5, respectively. It will be easiest for Svindal to get over this setback: he either won or placed silver in all of the past five speed events this season also winning gold in yesterday’s Super-G.
Once again the biggest disappointment lies with the Austrian and Swiss teams. Best Austrian ranked 13, best Swiss 24. On the other hand, there is a nation in the top 10 that has hardly been seen in any top World Cup results: Marvin van Heek from the Netherlands kept suspense high by capturing rank 8 with bib 53.