Paris has won five of the seven Stelvio downhills he has competed in, only failing to win the classic race in his first two attempts - in 2010 and 2011. “Bormio is my favorite course,” Paris said. “The start of the season has been fantastic. I am more than satisfied.”
His latest win came a day after Paris triumphed in a shortened race on the same course, which replaced the downhill that was canceled in another Italian resort, Val Gardena, last Saturday due to heavy snowfall.
Paris also won two speed races on the Stelvio course on back-to-back days last year. While other pre-race favorites failed to match Paris’ pace again on Saturday, unheralded Urs Kryenbuehl came close to upsetting the Italian.
Starting 26th, the Swiss skier led Paris by 0.12 seconds until the last check point but came up 0.08 short at the finish. Kryenbuehl had failed to get a top-20 result in the World Cup until Friday’s race, where he placed 13th.
“I don’t know what happened, but this is fantastic,” said Kryenbuehl, who missed much of last season due to a concussion after a crash in Beaver Creek, Colorado. “I recovered well from that and have been feeling good this season,” he added.
His Swiss teammate Beat Feuz trailed by 0.26 in third on Saturday. Matthias Mayer led Paris by 0.33 at the third intermediate time but the Austrian lost time in the bottom part of the course and finished 0.84 behind in fifth.
Paris overtook Feuz at the top of the downhill season standings, and also went top of the overall standings for the first time in his career. “The overall lead doesn’t mean anything to me. The standings only matter in March (end of season),” Paris said. “I live from race to race.”
The race was interrupted for 20 minutes after Hannes Reichelt crashed and slid into the safety netting. The Austrian was helicoptered off the hill with an apparent right knee injury. The Austrian ski team said Reichelt would undergo medical tests in a clinic in Innsbruck.
Brice Roger of France, who was fastest in the only training run on Thursday, also crashed but avoided injuries. The race weekend in Bormio will be concluded by an Alpine combined event on Sunday.
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