Friday, December 19, 2014

Steven Nyman Wins Downhill in Val Gardena

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.
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.
"I’ve always felt comfortable here from the first day I arrived (...) 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", said Nyman.
"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".
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.
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.

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