It was a day full of twists and turns as there were a number of racers that could have taken home bragging rights with less than a second separating the first 15 finishers. Svindal looked like he had the victory wrapped up with the most dangerous opponents down in the finish area when Franz laid down a blistering run. It was tight the entire way down as all waited on the edge of their seat to see if the Austrian would pull off the upset.
But all of the top three were all smiles as Svindal found himself back on the podium in another strong comeback bid, while Nyman continued to show his strength on one of his best courses in Val Gardena.In the end, it was a fairy tale finish for Austrian Max Franz, who earned his first career World Cup victory, after coming down with bib 26 and barely edging Norway’s Aksel Lund Svindal by 0.04 seconds.
"First victory is really awesome in Groeden. I felt really well in the first and second training and today, the feeling was pretty good. The chance to win was there and I took it. Really happy", said Max Franz.
"It's a little bit different this year to be at the start because I haven't skied so much so it's not an automatic. Normally, you know what you're supposed to do, the technique is easy to ski completely correct, but that's a little different this year. I'm an old guy now. I'm experienced so I can come in with just a little bit of training and get away with coming into the season and still be fast", said Aksel Lund Svindal
Third place went to American Steven Nyman, who trailed by 0.41 seconds.
"I went off the Kamelbuckel a little back which made me roll down the windows and gave me a good scare. I skied really well. I was in the lead on the last split but I burned my skis really bad so I could feel them on this last drag down bottom and they were just grabbing and I was like, 'I'm not moving like I should be moving right now,' which is a bummer. I'm really happy with the performance. To know I can ski at the top is really, really good and I want to cary that into Caterina".