Hannes Reichelt and Dominik Paris share first place in men's World Cup downhill race
Aksel Lund Svindal extends his overall lead after finishing only 0.01 seconds back in third
Svindal was just 0.01 seconds ahead of fourth-placed Klaus Kroll, last season's downhill champion
Italian skier Paris wins the first World Cup event of his career to delight the home crowd
Saturday’s World Cup downhill race in Bormio ended in a thrilling dead heat as Aksel Lund Svindal extended his overall lead despite narrowly missing out on a three-way share of victory.
The Norwegian had to settle for third place after finishing just 0.01 seconds behind Austria’s Hannes Reichelt and Italy’s Dominik Paris – who delighted the home crowd by claiming his first World Cup win.
“It’s amazing, it was my dream to win a downhill in the World Cup – and now I finally won it,” said the 23-year-old, who finished third at his national championships in March.
“Tying with Reichelt doesn’t make any difference – I am only happy to be on top. I was very nervous in the leader box because I knew the others behind will ski well, but it turned out good.
“It is totally amazing to win here in Bormio, I can’t say anything just that it was a dream come true.”
Reichelt also set a time of one minute 58.62 seconds as he claimed the fifth World Cup win of his career and his second podium this season after placing third in the Super G at Beaver Creek in the U.S. at the start of December.
“I feel like I am back in downhill because my last races were really bad, but I felt confident today,” the 32-year-old said.
“I think equipment today was very important because if the skies are stable on this bumpy slope it helps you to ski fast. During the Christmas break we did a good job, I did a lot of testing and now I can say I am on the right wave back. The year is ending really, really nice.”
Svindal earned his first podium finish at Bormio, which is considered one of the most testing courses on the World Cup circuit.
He finished 0.01 seconds ahead of fourth-placed Austrian Klaus Kroll, who was the World Cup downhill champion last season.
“It’s crazy, four guys within two-hundredths on one of the toughest downhills in the world,” said Svindal, who leads the downhill standings by 92 points from Paris and has a 114-point advantage in the overall competition.
He now has a record-equaling six podium positions before New Year, matching the mark set by Austria’s Michael Walchhofer in 2004-05.
“I can’t remember a race exactly this close. But as a ski racer you almost get used to it, it’s actually kind of crazy like that,” Svindal said.
“For sure there is that one mistake at the bottom that I wish I had back, but that’s ski racing. As long as you are fighting for the win like I am today, sometimes you get it and sometimes you don’t. But racing is a lot of fun when you are in that position.”
Meanwhile, Veronika Zuzulova had a comparatively more comfortable victory in the women’s slalom in Semmering, Austria, as she won her first World Cup race.
The Slovakian was 0.10 seconds ahead of home hope Kathrin Zettel over the two runs, while Tina Maze extended her overall World Cup lead with her 11th podium in 16 starts.
The Slovenian, who was fastest in the first run, now has a 427-point advantage over Germany’s Maria Hofl-Riesch, who placed fourth.