Riding high with confidence after a somewhat unexpected podium in Friday’s alpine combined, Italy’s Dominik Paris charged through falling snow in Chamonix, France, to win his first World Cup of the season, taking the downhill with a time of 1:58.38 seconds. Following Paris in second was American Downhiller Steven Nyman, 0.35 seconds back. Swiss racer Beat Feuz continued his comeback from injury with another solid podium performance, finishing third, 0.39 seconds off the pace.
Conditions on Saturday were very similar to the downhill portion of Friday’s combined race, with overcast skies and light snowfall holding steady throughout the 62-man field.
Nyman, running bib 12, looked to have laid down a run worthy of the victory, steadily building at each interval before crossing the finish with a lead of over 0.80 seconds in a race that until then had been quite tight. That is until Paris, who wore bib 17, pushed out of the start and kept Nyman within reach until slowly building an advantage towards the bottom and eventually crossing the line for his first World Cup win since taking the Kitzbuehel super G in 2015.
“I like the course. It’s a good speed on the course and yeah, it’s not so easy to bring all of your speed in the flats, but that’s what I did today and I’m happy,” Paris said. “I’ve got a lot of weight here, so that’s a positive. This course is difficult to interpret, you never know if you are fast or not, so I’m very happy about my win. Things started to get better for me in January and Jeongseon was the trigger for me, the confidence is back since Korea.”
Saturday’s result marks Nyman’s second trip in a row to the World Cup downhill podium, as he was also third in the Olympic test event in Jeongseon, South Korea, earlier in the month. According to Nyman, finding mental clarity after some frustrating early season results has been key to his performances as of late.
“In Jeongseon, I took a big step forward in my confidence,” explained Nyman. “I’ve been skiing well and I dialed some stuff in and I got rid of some questions that were in my head with my equipment and just myself. I just started skiing faster and faster and getting on the podium in Jeongseon was really good for me. Today, Dom (Paris) had a really good run and I was impressed with his bottom because I skied really well down there. I had some issues on top, but he pulled time on me down here and I was like, ‘Wow, that’s a big boy with some fast skis!’ And I’m a big boy with some fast skis, too, so, hats off to him.”
For Feuz, the results continue to come in with today marking the fourth top-five downhill finish in a row for the Swiss racer after sitting out the first part of the season.
“It’s incredible to be on the podium again,” Feuz said. “I came into the season without training and made three podiums so far; Kitzbuehel, Garmisch-Partenkirchen and now here. It’s amazing. I had good and bad moments on this slope here in Chamonix. 4 years ago when we were here I was fast, but I also had slow runs, as this year in the trainings for example. So I didn’t really know and it’s a good surprise.”
Only one other American followed Nyman into the points, with Andrew Weibrecht finishing in 18th. It was a rather tight race overall, with just 2.13 seconds separating Paris from 30th-place finisher, Italy’s Christof Innerhofer.
It was a solid day for America’s neighbors to the North, however, as Manuel Osborne-Paradis and Erik Guay both cracked the top 10 in seventh and eighth for Canada, with Osborne-Paradis scoring a season-best result in the process.
Frenchman Blaise Giezendanner continued to impress with another attack-from-the-back performance following setting the fastest time in yesterday’s downhill portion of the combined from outside of the top 30. On Saturday, the young Frenchman screamed from bib 40 all the way to ninth place, just 1.32 seconds off of the winning pace.
Both the men and women now head North to Stockholm, Sweden, for a city event parallel slalom on Feb. 23.
By Hank McKee
- Paris, Nordica/Nordica/Marker
- Nyman, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
- Feuz, Head/Head/Head
- Fayed, Head/Head/Head
- Fill, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
- Theaux, Head/Head/Head
- Osborne-Paradis, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
- Guay, Head/Head/Head
- Giezendanner, Head/Head/Head
- Reichelt, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
- Men’s World Cup downhill, Chamonix, France, Feb. 20, 2016. … It is the 31st of 44 races on the men’s schedule. … The ninth of 11 scheduled downhills. … It is the 15th World Cup downhill held at Chamonix, home of the Arlberg-Kandahar. … Klaus Kroell and Jan Hudec won the last two downhills at Chamonix, in 2012.
- It is the fifth career World Cup win for Dominik Paris. … His first of the season. … His previous best at Chamonix came hours earlier with a second-place finish in the combined Feb. 19. … The winning margin is 0.35 of a second. … The top five skiers are within the same second. … The top 28 within two seconds.
- It is the eighth career World Cup podium for Steven Nyman. … His first at Chamonix and his second of the season after a third-place finish at Jeongseon Feb. 6.
- It is the 20th career World Cup podium for Beat Feuz. … It is his third podium of the season, all in DH.
- It is the 25th time Manuel Osborne-Paradis has finished in the top seven of a World Cup race … the 59th time Erik Guay has made the top eight. … Only Guay’s fifth at Val Gardena is a better result this season for Canadian males. … It is the eighth best finish of the season for Andrew Weibrecht.
- None of the top three skiers in the World Cup overall standings participated in the race. … Marcel Hirscher leads 1045-957 over Henrik Kristoffersen and Aksel Lund Svindal (injured) is third overall with 916pts.
- Svindal leads the downhill standings 436-410 over Peter Fill (fifth in race). … Adrien Theaux (sixth in race) is third with 341pts and Steven Nyman makes the top 10 with 246pts.
- Austria leads the Nations Cup standings 4026-3742 over France. … Norway is third with 3510pts. … The U.S. is sixth at 1701 and Canada ninth at 524pts.
|Rank||Bib||FIS Code||Name||Year||Nation||Total Time||Diff.||FIS Points|
|11||13||422139||KILDE Aleksander Aamodt||1992||NOR||1:59.74||+1.36||14.36|
|14||28||194542||GIRAUD MOINE Valentin||1992||FRA||1:59.85||+1.47||15.52|
|41||47||380292||ZRNCIC DIM Natko||1986||CRO||2:01.33||+2.95||31.15|
|45||55||110324||VON APPEN Henrik||1994||CHI||2:01.45||+3.07||32.42|
|Disqualified 1st run|
|Did not finish 1st run|