(Reuters) - Reigning World Cup champion Beat Feuz again set the pace by winning the season-opening men’s downhill at Lake Louise on Saturday as the sport continued to mourn death of French skier David Poisson.
The 30-year-old Swiss sped down the course in a time of one minute 43.76 seconds to edge Austria’s Matthias Mayer (1.43.85) by less than a tenth of a second.
The day, however, belonged to the memory of Poisson, who died Nov. 13 in a training accident in Alberta. Skiers wore heart-shaped stickers with his initials on their helmets and race bibs that bore his name.
It was particularly meaningful for the French racers, who competed with Poisson’s name emblazoned across their chests. Adrien Theaux posted the French team’s best result in seventh place.
But Feuz, who in February beat Canada’s Erik Guay for the World Cup gold in St. Moritz, once again set the standard.
“Beginning the season with a win is the best thing that can happen,” Feuz said. “I had a great summer preparation, without any injuries and am very happy about how things turned out here, especially as I’m not performing very well here usually.”
Norway’s Aksel Lund Svindal took third despite struggling with a knee that ended his last season prematurely.
“(The knee) is not awesome, but racing is racing,” the 34-year-old said. “You don’t get old in sports, it’s more about injuries you have. In the end, there’s just too much stuff that’s not working the way it should.”
Italy’s Peter Fill finished fourth (1:44.28) followed by another Norwegian Kjetil Jansrud (1:44.39).
The race schedule at Lake Louise will continue on Sunday with the Super-G competition.
Reporting by Jahmal Corner