Steven Nyman skis to resounding win in Val Gardena. GEPA

Steven Nyman skis to resounding win in Val Gardena. GEPA

The 2014 installment of the Saslong will undoubtedly be remembered as one of the more brutal and demanding chapters in the 47-year history of racing in Val Gardena, Italy. It will also be remembered as the third time American Steven Nyman got the best of the hill and the field, skiing to the most resounding World Cup win of his career.

Surrounded by greenery, very little snow cover on the Saslong nearly nixed the race and led to extreme conditions on the track, which featured faster speeds, bigger jumps and a bumpier ride. The course’s key sections became all the more critical. Camel Humps — the famed jump over a jump — sent racers flying nearly the length of a soccer pitch, while the technical and bumpy Ciaslat section tested their off-season conditioning prior to the home stretch. Those who reached the finish line were completely depleted and relieved.

Running first, Canadian Jan Hudec set an ominous tone for the race, getting launched off the Camel Hump, rolling the windows down and nearly going over the handle bars. Hudec landed safely but promptly stood up and excused himself from the remainder of the run.

With a Birds of Prey podium fresh in memory, Nyman put on a clinical performance running an early bib No. 7 and finishing with a time of 1 minute, 55.89 seconds. The American was flawless over the Camel Hump and strong through the Ciaslat, pinching the line and making it look easy through the finish. With a second-and-a-half lead in that early stage of the game, it was evident that Nyman would be tough to beat.

Of course, a certain Norwegian downhiller, undefeated in the event this season, might have had something to say about that. By the end of the day, Kjetil Jansrud was the only other racer in the conversation with Nyman. Running 21st, the Birds of Prey champ was close, roughly four-tenths back early in the run. Through the meat of the course, Jansrud gradually gained time on Nyman, coming as close as two-tenths at the final split. But a small mistake, catching an edge over the last roll may have been the difference, solidifying Nyman’s third Val Gardena victory.

“I’ve always felt comfortable here from the first day I arrived,” said Nyman. “In 2005, I said I like this hill. I could see what I needed to do and I was ready to do it. And I crashed! And the next year, I won. And then the next year, I crashed! It treats me well and sometimes it slaps me.

“It was different this year because the snow is so thin, you’re basically feeling the fields underneath the snow,” added Nyman. “It’s rattly the whole way down the hill. And you have to keep driving over that and show it who’s boss, or it will show you who’s boss.”

Jansrud hung on to finish .31 seconds back in second place.

“I seem to be kind of stable grabbing podiums,” said Jansrud, “but hats off to Steven today. I always want to win though. When you’re in the start, you try to win. But today is one of those days when you have to admit someone is faster. I have to say that I am really impressed with Steven today because he did a perfect run.”

Jansrud was followed not-so-closely by Italy’s own Dominik Paris, who executed a controlled flight over the Camel Hump; but after a series of small mistakes through the Ciaslat, a third-place result, a whole 1.15 seconds back, is all that could be salvaged.

Not to be lost in the shuffle was a good run by American Travis Ganong who finished 13th. Ganong got pushed onto the tails of his skis coming on to the upper flats, likely losing speed in that critical part of the course. Other than that, it was a tight, compact run without major errors.

Austrian Florian Scheiber, running 25th, fell victim to the tough conditions. Getting knocked around through Ciaslat, he was bounced into the netting and ultimately airlifted from the hill. He was taken to a hospital in Bolzano, where in addition to a concussion and abrasions to the face, doctors diagnosed bruising to the chest and pelvis.

 

The Scoop

By Hank McKee

  1. Nyman, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
  2. Jansrud, Head/Head/Head
  3. Paris, Nordica/Nordica/Marker
  4. Fayed, Head/Head/Head
  5. Clarey, Head/Head/Head
  6. Zurbriggen, Rossignol/Lange/Rossignol
  7. Mayer, Head/Head/Head
  8. Feuz, Head/Head/Head
  9. Kueng, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
  10. Defago, Rossignol/Lange/Rossignol

Men’s World Cup downhill, Val Gardena, Italy, Dec. 19, 2014:

  • It is the tenth of 36 races on the men’s 2014-15 World Cup schedule … the third of ten scheduled men’s downhills. … It is the 77th World Cup race held (at least in part) at Val Gardena. … It is the first of two races set for Val Gardena in this season’s 47th Saslong Classic. … The site has a snow shortage.
  • Traditionally a good site for North Americans: Erik Guay is the defending champion, Steven Nyman won the 2012 classic and Manuel Osborne-Paradis won 2008. Only training run ended with Nyman in first, Kjetil Jansrud second and Tobias Stechert third. … Race was flip-flopped with the super G, originally set for Friday.
  • Winning margin is .31. … third place is 1.15 out. It is the third career World Cup win for Steven Nyman, all three of them coming at Val Gardena (2006, 2012 and 2014). … He matches Cindy Nelson, Holly Flanders, Bill Johnson, Hilary Lindh and Julia Mancuso for fifth among all Americans for World Cup downhill wins.
  • It is the fourth U.S. win of the season and second in downhill. … Nyman has finished 16th, third and first in the three men’s downhills held.
  • It is the 19th career World Cup podium for Kjetil Jansrud … his fifth of the season in seven races. … He has placed first, first and second in three downhills this season. … It is the second straight year he has finished second at Val Gardena in downhill.
  • It is the sixth career World Cup podium for Dominik Paris. … He has finished in the top five of all five completed races this season. … He had not placed better that 13th in any World Cup race at Val Gardena previously.
  • It is the 14th best of 37 scoring result for Travis Ganong … his second best at Val Gardena after a tenth in 2012. … It is the 11th best showing at Val Gardena for Manuel Osborne-Paradis. … It is the second-career scoring result at Val Gardena for Benjamin Thomsen.
  • Kjetil Jansrud regains the lead of the World Cup overall standings 492-440 over Marcel Hirscher (did not race). … Dominik Paris moves to third with 265pts. … Ted Ligety (did not race) is the top American in forth with 246pts. … Steven Nyman sits ninth with 177pts.
  • Jansrud leads the downhill standings 280-175 over Nyman. … Fayed is third with 170pts. … Manuel Osborne-Paradis leads Canada in sixth with 106pts.
  • Austria leads the men’s Nations Cup 1478-955 over France. … Italy is third at 906pts. … The U.S. sits sixth with 709pts. and Canada ninth at 339pts.

 

Results

 1  7  533866 NYMAN Steven 1982 USA  1:55.89  0.00
 2  21  421483 JANSRUD Kjetil 1985 NOR  1:56.20  +0.31  3.34
 3  16  291459 PARIS Dominik 1989 ITA  1:57.04  +1.15  12.40
 4  15  192932 FAYED Guillermo 1985 FRA  1:57.15  +1.26  13.59
 5  9  191740 CLAREY Johan 1981 FRA  1:57.19  +1.30  14.02
 6  2  510890 ZURBRIGGEN Silvan 1981 SUI  1:57.40  +1.51  16.29
 7  20  53902 MAYER Matthias 1990 AUT  1:57.42  +1.53  16.50
 8  8  511383 FEUZ Beat 1987 SUI  1:57.52  +1.63  17.58
 9  22  511139 KUENG Patrick 1984 SUI  1:57.62  +1.73  18.66
 10  30  510727 DEFAGO Didier 1977 SUI  1:57.73  +1.84  19.85
 11  18  50742 REICHELT Hannes 1980 AUT  1:57.79  +1.90  20.49
 12  13  292455 FILL Peter 1982 ITA  1:57.81  +1.92  20.71
 13  19  530874 GANONG Travis 1988 USA  1:57.84  +1.95  21.03
 14  10  192746 THEAUX Adrien 1984 FRA  1:57.89  +2.00  21.57
 15  3  50858 STREITBERGER Georg 1981 AUT  1:58.04  +2.15  23.19
 16  14  102899 OSBORNE-PARADIS Manuel 1984 CAN  1:58.05  +2.16  23.30
 17  5  51215 BAUMANN Romed 1986 AUT  1:58.06  +2.17  23.41
 18  12  53817 FRANZ Max 1989 AUT  1:58.16  +2.27  24.48
 19  27  50753 KROELL Klaus 1980 AUT  1:58.32  +2.43  26.21
 20  6  511352 VILETTA Sandro 1986 SUI  1:58.53  +2.64  28.48
 21  23  511313 JANKA Carlo 1986 SUI  1:58.54  +2.65  28.58
 22  11  292514 HEEL Werner 1982 ITA  1:58.56  +2.67  28.80
 23  17  293006 INNERHOFER Christof 1984 ITA  1:58.58  +2.69  29.01
 24  4  293141 VARETTONI Silvano 1984 ITA  1:58.68  +2.79  30.09
 25  33  201811 STECHERT Tobias 1985 GER  1:58.70  +2.81  30.31
 26  35  501076 OLSSON Hans 1984 SWE  1:58.86  +2.97  32.03
 27  49  103271 THOMSEN Benjamin 1987 CAN  1:58.92  +3.03  32.68
 28  50  510997 BERTHOD Marc 1983 SUI  1:59.14  +3.25  35.05
 29  47  150398 BANK Ondrej 1980 CZE  1:59.19  +3.30  35.59
 30  51  194167 MUZATON Maxence 1990 FRA  1:59.21  +3.32  35.81
 31  59  294277 KLOTZ Siegmar 1987 ITA  1:59.43  +3.54  38.18
 32  31  202059 FERSTL Josef 1988 GER  1:59.47  +3.58  38.61
 33  43  380292 ZRNCIC-DIM Natko 1986 CRO  1:59.55  +3.66  39.48
 34  42  561067 PERKO Rok 1985 SLO  1:59.57  +3.68  39.69
 34  24  191964 POISSON David 1982 FRA  1:59.57  +3.68  39.69
 36  34  511981 WEBER Ralph 1993 SUI  1:59.87  +3.98  42.93
 37  26  54005 STRIEDINGER Otmar 1991 AUT  1:59.88  +3.99  43.04
 38  48  202196 BRANDNER Klaus 1990 GER  1:59.93  +4.04  43.58
 39  45  481705 GLEBOV Alexander 1983 RUS  1:59.99  +4.10  44.22
 39  29  194190 ROGER Brice 1990 FRA  1:59.99  +4.10  44.22
 41  54  200379 SANDER Andreas 1989 GER  2:00.00  +4.11  44.33
 42  28  533131 SULLIVAN Marco 1980 USA  2:00.05  +4.16  44.87
 43  44  6530104 BENNETT Bryce 1992 USA  2:00.20  +4.31  46.49
 44  39  561217 KOSI Klemen 1991 SLO  2:00.33  +4.44  47.89
 45  41  934643 GOLDBERG Jared 1991 USA  2:00.42  +4.53  48.86
 46  32  560447 SPORN Andrej 1981 SLO  2:00.57  +4.68  50.48
 47  58  511808 SCHMED Fernando 1991 SUI  2:00.70  +4.81  51.88
 48  53  51327 PUCHNER Joachim 1987 AUT  2:00.84  +4.95  53.39
 49  40  511513 CAVIEZEL Mauro 1988 SUI  2:01.18  +5.29  57.06
 50  61  6290985 BUZZI Emanuele 1994 ITA  2:01.25  +5.36  57.81
 51  60  530939 WEIBRECHT Andrew 1986 USA  2:01.38  +5.49  59.22
 52  36  561255 CATER Martin 1992 SLO  2:01.82  +5.93  63.96
 53  56  294904 PANGRAZZI Paolo 1988 ITA  2:01.92  +6.03  65.04
 54  37  103612 PRIDY Morgan 1990 CAN  2:02.41  +6.52  70.33
 55  55  531452 BIESEMEYER Thomas 1989 USA  2:02.71  +6.82  73.56
 56  62  370031 ALESSANDRIA Arnaud 1993 MON  2:03.53  +7.64  82.41
 57  38  511529 GISIN Marc 1988 SUI  2:08.04  +12.15  131.05
Did not start 1st run
 46  400281 VAN HEEK Marvin 1991 NED
Did not finish 1st run
 57  422139 KILDE Aleksander Aamodt 1992 NOR
 52  194542 GIRAUD MOINE Valentin 1992 FRA
 25  51332 SCHEIBER Florian 1987 AUT
 1  102271 HUDEC Jan 1981 CAN
Article Tags: Alpine, Top Story

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Geoff Mintz
- Geoff Mintz is a former alpine ski racer who cut his teeth at Ragged Mountain and Waterville Valley, N.H. After graduating from Holderness and UVM, he relocated to Colorado, where he worked as an instructor at Beaver Creek prior to pursuing a career in journalism.
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