Max Franz is the 12th Austrian to win a World Cup Downhill race on the Saslong and the first since Michael Walchhofer in 2008. Franz has been competing in the World Cup since 2009 and reached second places in the Downhills in Lake Louise in 2012 and Saalbach in 2015.
Here are the comments of the skiers immediately after the race:Â
Max Franz (AUT), 1st with 1:56.60
Itâ€™s wonderful that I was able to win today. I had a good feeling at the start because my training runs went really well and I was in great shape. I had a premonition that I could make it today and maybe thatâ€™s why I was a little more nervous than usual. My family and my friends always come to fire me up here in Val Gardena/GrĂ¶den and we all feel wonderful here. I reached my first top ten place with a 5th place in the 2011 Super-G here on the Saslong.
Aksel Lund Svindal (NOR), 2nd with +0.04
I made a big mistake but otherwise my run was fine. You cannot allow yourself such a mistake which is why I know that the winning time would have been beatable. Of course I hoped that it was enough and it looked good for a long time. But Max Franz had two great training runs and it was clear that he was a strong contender for the gold.
Steven Nyman (USA), 3rd with +0.41
Up top I nailed the turns and was really happy with my performance and was just letting it glide on the flats when I felt my skis flying. Off the jumps I went so much further than in the training and coming on the Camel Humps I pressed on the first one leaning back a little and came at the big one leaning even further back which is when I freaked myself out but also knew it was going well and was pleased my knees were holding up. I think I was second into the last split and then I felt my skis starting to catch and knew that i burned off the edges which is why I lost half a second down there. I lost a little time on the Camel Hump because the splits there are a little weird and while it shows that youâ€™re behind which meant I invested in that split it makes you faster in the next one. My training runs were too straight so I knew Iâ€™d try this in the race. I backed off so that I can be faster in the Ciaslat where you have to keep moving and be active. Overall I had a great race, made it on the podium and am pretty stoked with my performance. But obviously I was very nervous as I am nervous here every time as there is a lot on the line and expectations are big. Max has been very fast in the training runs particularly in the CIaslat section. He risked quite a bit and I was impressed with this. I didnâ€™t follow his race exactly so I donâ€™t know where he was faster. Congratulations to Max, itâ€™s his first win and the Austrians were pretty disappointed after Val dâ€™IsĂ¨re so itâ€™s great for them to have a win.
Erik Guay (CAN), 5th with +0.56
Pleased with my result which is as expected but I think I could have done better. I have been struggling with the top section all week and in fact you can see that I was behind in the top splits but there are parts that I ski like the best of the world. My gliding isnâ€™t as good for some reason that I still have to figure out. I never would have called Franz for the win. But he was great in the training, was compact and fast everywhere sticking his nose into speed. On the contrary, Svindalâ€™s run was a little dirty with a few mistakes but he just has a way to bring speed from one turn to the next. Lower bib numbers were an advantage with a little more sun at the top but then again Max Franz came all the way from behind which makes his run even more impressive.
Bryce Bennett (USA), 8th with +0.63
I had a two good training runs which I have never experienced before in my career to be fast in the training runs. So my mind was in a lot of places and I was very nervous but was able to calm down with four or five races ahead of me. And then I just went ahead and skied and enjoyed myself. This track really suits me. The big jumps and all the micro and macro terrain is made for me. I grew up racing BMX which is very similar and I like using my strength like that.
Nils Mani (SUI), 9th with +0.65
I had a good feeling a the start but this result surprises me. I hope it gives me a boost for the next races. Right now I do not want to think about the World Championships but i will try to build on this result. I had to check the leaderboard three times as I could hardly believe my standings. It will take some time for me to process my success. My Downhill runs were good so far, but never was I able to pull off a ride like this before.
Kjetil Jansrud (NOR), 12th with +0.75
Nothing went wrong, I had a pretty good run. I saw my splits and it looks like I lost in the flats both at the top and then in the middle right before the Camel Humps and also on the bottom. We will analyzes and see. I think I brought what i had today so I canâ€™t be too disappointed with it, itâ€™s not like I skied bad or didnâ€™t feel good. Of course Iâ€™d take a podium if I could but itâ€™s good to see that there are so many good skiers out there and important to understand that even just the smallest mistake puts you back in the rankings, sometimes not just by two or three places but a lot. Thatâ€™s a bit of a wake-up call for me, too and shows you that nothing comes for free. Iâ€™ll try to reset for tomorrow and then letâ€™s see.
Christoph Innerhofer (ITA), 13th with +0.77
Iâ€™ll take a lot of positive inputs from this race, although I could have picked up a few tenths along the way. I tried to stay loose on my skis and didnâ€™t switch back at the Sochers wall in time. I went into those two turns too passively and just was too soft. I should have pushed a little harder there to really make the most of that jump. Iâ€™ve lost at least two or three tenths of a second right there, but then the rest I skied ok. In fact, on the Ciaslat my run was one of the fastest. In the past, a 22nd place was my best here in Val Gardena/GrĂ¶den so I am pleased with my 15th.
Peter Fill (ITA), 22nd with +1.23
I was literally racing in slow motion today which surprised me once I got to the finish because I really gave it my all. My run was slow along the entire track and I canâ€™t even tell you why. Maybe I just didnâ€™t get enough speed. I admit that I didn't like the first turn but after that my run seemed ok. Expectations were very high, both from my side but also from others and maybe that was the problem. Too bad, Iâ€™ll try again next year.