Nyman charges to Val Gardena DH win in a fog
Steven Nyman got his second career win, and second at Val Gardena, with a brilliant charge on a day better suited for braille.
Downhill racing is not for the meek and this fog delayed race on a track shortened by overnight snow underscored that hugely. Nyman, skiing in better conditions than the top seed, but worse conditions than those who skied after his start number of 39, executed his game plan to perfection to grab a narrow win from Slovene Rok Perko. Skiing four ahead of Nyman, Perko had unseated the more masterful run of Canadian Erik Guay from the top step of the podium. Guay finished in third, just ahead of Norway's Kjetil Jansrud and Aksel Svindal, two who raced in the thickest of the fog.
Jansrud, in fact, had been held at the start for 20 minutes or so because of the fog that clung tightly on the course and hung in the trees. Svindal, too, raced in a shroud of fog.
"Weather was a huge factor as you saw," said Nyman. "when I heard Rok had been fast I said 'the course is fast, the door is open you have to punch it in there'."
Armed with a course report from Marco Sullivan (filtered by coach TJ Lanning) that said there were no course issues, Nyman said he got into the start "and saw no fog in front of me. It's on. Let's go."
It wasn't flawless. " I hit some soft snow in places but just kept working the terrain.
My skis are running, I hit the line I wanted to hit and kept searching
for my tuck. I Knew I had to stick to my guns."
After Nyman's run the fog lifted completely providing the opportunity for some very late runners to climb high up the finish order. Werner Heel, starting 52nd, finished sixth. The Netherlands got her first top 10 in World Cup downhill when Martin VanHeek collected eighth from the 53rd start. Italian Silvano Varettoni started 51st and finished ninth and Frenchman Brice Rogers started 46th and finished tied with American Travis Ganong's career best tenth. It was a day built for upsets. It was a day built for Nyman.
Nyman, a 6'5” powerhouse of a man, had missed all of last season to a ruptured Achilles tendon and hadn't visited a World Cup podium in five years. A November training crash that broke a pair of ribs had reined him in during the two previous downhills, but he has history on this Italian track with a win in 2006 and two ninths, one in super G in 2006 and in downhill in 2008. If he was to get his season and career back on track, this was where he expected it to happen.
"I was excited to come here. There's more terrain. I just had had to do what I know how to do," he said.
Rok Perko's best downhills had all come at Kvitfjell, and the best of those was 12th. He became the second Slovene man to make a World Cup downhill podium, the other being Andrej Jerman. "As the weather is concerned. ... this is the nature of the sport and once you get, sometimes you lose," said Slovene speed coach Tadej Platovsek. He assured the team would not fail to celebrate Perko's result.
Guay put down perhaps the best run of the day in the fog skiing with both daring and precision but also with tactics, taking a high enough line above the flat to carry the most speed possible and bumping Norway's speed train off the tracks to the podium.
"In my head, I won today," said Guay. "Not to take anything away from those guys who took advantage of their start numbers. That's what they had to do."
by Hank McKee
Men's World Cup Downhill, Val Gardena, Italy, Dec. 15, 2012
1 Nyman, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
2 Perko, Atomic//Atomic
3 Guay, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
4 Jansrud, Head/Head/Head
5 Svindal, Head/Head/Head
6 Heel, Head/Head/Head
7 Osborne-Paradis, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
8 VanHeek, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
9 Varettoni, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
10 Roger, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
10 Ganong, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
Men's World Cup Downhill, Val Gardena, Italy, Dec, 15, 2012. ... Held from the SG start due to snow. ... delayed by thick fog which lifted about 40 racers into race. ... It is the 13th of 73 races on the World Cup 2012-13 calendar. ... the 11th of 40 for men. ... It is the third of nine scheduled downhills. ...It is the 74th Cup race held - at least in part - at Val Gardena. ... It is the 50th Cup downhill at the site. ... The first was held in 1969.
It is the second career victory for Steven Nyman, the previous also coming in DH at Val Gardena Dec. 16, 2006. ... It is his first Cup podium visit since Nov. 30, 2007 when he was third at Beaver Creek. ... It is the 249th US Cup win and the seventh of the season. ... Nyman is the eighth American to earn a Cup podium this season. ... He is the first American to win twice at Val Gardena. ... others to have one once include Bode Miller and Phil Mahre.
It is the first career World Cup podium (and first top 10) for Rok Perko. ... His previous best had been 12th scored twice, both at Kvitfjell, in 2009 and 2010. ... It is the 12th time Slovenes have earned a DH Cup podium. ... He is just the second male to accomplish the feat.
It is the 18th career World Cup podium for Erik Guay. ... his 12th in downhill and his second at Val Gardena having also been third Dec. 17, 2005. ... It is his first podium of the season and the first for Canada.
It is the 18th time Manuel Osborne-Paradis has placed in the top seven of a World Cup race, but the first in two seasons. ... It is the fifth time he has scored this well or better at Val Gardena. ... It is a career best World Cup result for Travis Ganong. ... his previous best a 12th score in DH at Kitzbuehel Jan. 21, 2012. ... It is the sixth best of 10 results at Val Gardena for Marco Sullivan. ... and the second time he has finished 18th this season. ... It was the first career World Cup scoring result for Marvin VanHeek and Philipp Zepnik.
Aksel Lund Svindal (fifth in race) maintains the lead of the World Cup overall standings 585-408 over Ted Ligety (did not race). ... Marcel Hirscher (did not race) is third with 380pts. ... Guay is top Canadian in ninth with 182. ... Svindal leads the downhill standings 225-139 over Kjetil Jansrud (fourth in race). ... Guay is third with 104pts and Nyman fifth with 125pts. Marco Sullivan is eighth with 86pts. ... Austria leads the men's Nations Cup 1843-1397 over Italy with Norway third at 977. ... The US is fifth with 751pts and Canada seventh with 384pts.
Val Gardena-Groeden (ITA)
FIS World Cup
Dec. 15, 2012
|Rank||Bib||FIS Code||Name||Year||Nation||Total Time||FIS Points|
|5||16||421328||SVINDAL Aksel Lund||1982||NOR||1:29.27||6.94|
|8||53||400281||VAN HEEK Marvin||1991||NED||1:29.41||9.10|