VAL GARDENA, Italy - American downhiller Steven Nyman demonstrated his love of Val Gardena’s Saslong piste with his third career victory at the Italian resort on Friday.
In his 13 years on the World Cup circuit, the 32-year-old has only won three races, all of them in Val Gardena -- the first in 2006 and the second two years ago.
After his third triumph he was asked the secret: “Pasta! Good Italian pasta!” he said.
Whatever his diet, his victory this time, in one minute 55.89 seconds, was probably less of a surprise as the Utah skier had already made it on to the podium at Beaver Creek earlier this month and had been fastest in training on Thursday.
Norway’s Olympic super-G champion Kjetil Jansrud, winner of the first two downhills of the winter, was the only skier to come close to the American, finishing 0.31 seconds slower for his fifth podium in five speed events this season.
Italy’s Dominik Paris was third, more than a second adrift.
“Of my three victories, this is the best because I beat skiers of the calibre of Jansrud and Paris,” Nyman said.
“I was a bit lucky with my starting number because I had good visibility at the top and I could let my skis go.”
Injuries have been part of Nyman’s history and he failed to make the American A team this season, having to pay $20,000 to race according to regulations imposed by the team since 2008.
That investment has paid off, with $30,000 awarded to World Cup race winners.
“My ambition this season is not to win single events or the worlds at home in Beaver Creek. It’s more consistency,” he said.
Austrian Florian Scheiber crashed on the tricky, bumpy course and had to be flown to a hospital in Bolzano.
Nothing was immediately known about his condition.
Canada’s Jan Hudec also hurt himself in a jump and managed to ski down the course despite a suspected knee ligament injury.
Reporting by Patrick Lang; editing by Martyn Herman