The Mayor of Bormio struck again on Saturday as Italy’s Dominik Paris picked up his second win at the iconic venue in two days, bringing his Bormio win total to six, five of them downhills. Not only is Paris undoubtedly the most dominant skier ever at the venue, Saturday’s victory tied Norway’s Aksel Lund Svindal and Austria’s Michael Walchofer at 14 downhill wins for sixth place all time in the discipline.
After running a slightly shortened course for the Val Gardena makeup race on Friday, racers took to the Stelvio track from the top under blue skies and hard, fast snow conditions on Saturday. Swirling winds added an extra layer of uncertainty in certain sections as well with gate panels visibly flapping for a few racers on the bottom section of the course.
Racing got underway at 11:30am local time and things looked to be shaping up not much different than many of the other World Cup downhills before. The first handful of racers out of the gate traded punches at each interval and the vibe of the race was getting established at the finish. Then, Paris stepped into the gate with bib nine.
It was clear from the get-go that Paris was going to make the rest of the field work for it if they were to unseat him from the top of the podium as the big Italian steadily built a lead at the first few intervals before blowing the doors off on the lower third of the course. Powerful turns combined with an aggressive line to give Paris a massive 1.61 second advantage when he crossed the finish line.
After the race, Paris’ domination of the Bormio downhill was evident at reporters asked him if he felt like he was becoming the Stelvio himself.
“I’m not the Stelvio, I’m just the racer on the Stelvio,” he insisted. “I like to ski down this hill, it’s really amazing. I had such a good feeling and a lot of confidence on this course and that I get another victory today, for me that’s surprise because it was not easy after yesterday to do another run perfect and on the limit so I am very, very lucky today.”
Bormio means a lot to the 30-year-old as many career highlights, including his first World Cup win, have come in the Italian town. Paris now leads the World Cup downhill standings by four points over Beat Feuz, who finished in third on Saturday for his second podium of the series. Paris now leads the Overall standings as well.
“This city gave me a lot, my my first victory and a lot of victories now,” he said. “I’m a little bit proud to have all these titles here in Bormio.”
The surprise of the day came from 25-year-old Swiss Urs Kryenbuehl, who actually managed to match Paris and even hold the lead at the final intervals with bib 25 before sliding into second place, just 0.08 seconds shy of taking the win for himself and bumping his teammate Feuz to third.
“It’s an incredible day for me today,” he said after the race. “Yesterday was already my best result in 13th place and today was even better. It’s also my first top 10 so it’s a really special day for me.”
For a racer’s first podium to come at such a challenging venue and to finish between two of the most dominant downhillers over the last several years in the process was a humbling experience for the young Swiss. Kryenbuehl even admitted to feeling a little starstruck standing at the prize giving ceremony after the race.
“It’s really amazing to share the podium with these two skiers and sportsmen,” he shared. “I admire them and try to take inspiration from them because they manage race by race to keep consistency and be really strong. It’s an honor for me to share the podium with these two guys.”
Feuz has proven himself unflappable despite breaking his hand last week in Val Gardena as he has managed to go toe-to-toe at the top of the results sheet two days in a row. Even though Feuz could not match Paris’ speed, the consistency of Feuz is what has brought the 32-year-old the last two straight World Cup downhill titles.
“It’s again a great race today,” he said. “I saw that Dominik took a lot of risk and did an amazing time so I knew that I had to take risk as well. Unfortunately, it was not enough for the win but was good for third place. I’m really happy to be twice on the podium on such a difficult and hard race.”
The American Downhillers were led by Vermont’s Ryan Cochran-Siegle, who finished in 11th place for the second day in a row. The 27-year-old has really found his form in downhill this season and now sits 12th in the standings as the top-ranked American.
“I wanted to go into today skiing a little more aggressive in certain sections, especially coming off that top road and I think I did that,” Cochran-Siegle explained. “I think I could have been a touch cleaner just with how the snow was, it definitely held up really well and the conditions were pretty fair for everyone. I think I was a little passive, a little dirty at the top of the turn in certain places but definitely happy with my result. This is definitely really solid skiing and I feel like I have a pretty good feeling with this hill. I think when you can enjoy a run of downhill skiing, you can ski with speed.”
Cochran-Siegle competes in downhill, super-G, giant slalom, and alpine combined on the World Cup and has shown that he is more than capable of consistently scoring in each of them this season. Consistency across multiple events is something hard to come by in this age of ski racing but Cochran-Siegle seems to have found the right pieces to the puzzle so far this season.
“I feel very solid,” he added. “I think for me this year it’s just about trying to improve every race and trying to learn every race so that I can be competitive and get myself in a competitive position. I think I’m starting to be there, being able to start in the 30 is a big thing. I think racing a lot of events is advantageous when you’re feeling good and feel confident and that’s kind of where I’m at right now. I enjoy kicking out of the starting gate and I have fun with it and I think that’s one of the reasons why I’m able to be consistent right now.”
Following Cochran-Siegle in the points was Steven Nyman in 19th and Jared Goldberg in 23rd. Thomas Biesemeyer finished in 32nd, Sam Morse in 37th, Bryce Bennett in 38th, and Travis Ganong in 43rd.
Benjamin Thomsen led the Canadians in 12th place.
The men now race alpine combined in Bormio on Sunday, December 29. First run is scheduled to start at 11:00am CET.
- Dominik Paris (ITA) – 1:55.37 Nordica/Nordica/Marker
- Urs Kryenbuehl (SUI) – +0.08 Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
- Beat Feuz (SUI) – +0.26 Head/Head/Head
- Aleksander Aamodt Kilde (NOR) – +0.73 Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
- Matthias Mayer (AUT) – +0.84 Head/Head/Head
- Niels Hintermann (SUI) – +0.88 Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
- Johan Clarey (FRA) – +1.09 Head/Head/Head
- Adrien Theaux (FRA) – +1.40 Head/Head/Head
- Maxence Muzaton (FRA) – +1.53 Rossignol/Rossignol/Look
- Vincent Kriechmayr (AUT) – +1.61 Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
For complete results, click here.