Cochran-Siegle is the first to impress on the Saslong
On Wednesday, the first of two training runs for the downhill classic on the Saslong was on the program in Val Gardena/Gröden. In good outside conditions, American Ryan Cochran-Siegle made people sit up and take notice with a clear challenge.
Cochran-Siegle, who took his first and so far only downhill podium in Val Gardena/Gröden last year, clearly left the competition behind him in the first training session. The 29-year-old clocked a finishing time of 2:03.67 minutes and was thus by far the best athlete from the 76-strong starting field. The closest to the US skier was, somewhat surprisingly, Sweden's Felix Monsen, who was already 90 hundredths behind in second place. Along with Johan Clarey from France (3rd place with gate error / +0.91), Monsen was one of only two runners who were able to keep the gap to the fastest in training under one second.
Top favorite and last year's winner Aleksander Aamodt Kilde, on the other hand, showed that he is a force to be reckoned with at the foot of the Sassolungo/Langkofel this year as well. The Norwegian, who won the last two speed events this winter in Beaver Creek, finished in fifth place immediately behind Bostjan Kline of Slovenia. Behind Kilde, the Val Gardena/Gröden specialist, another Saslong expert, Travis Ganong from the USA, followed in sixth place.
South Tyroleans in waiting position
The local speed specialists finished the first training session within touching distance of the top positions. While Christof Innerhofer from Gais came away with the tenth-fastest time (+1.63), Dominik Paris from Ultner finished eleventh, 1.66 seconds behind. As the third best "Azzurro" Mattia Casse ranked 16th. All other Italians had to be satisfied with a ranking beyond the first 30.
The second training run is scheduled for Thursday on the Saslong. The start will be at 11:45 am.
The complete list of results of the first downhill training is available here.