Saslong Classic Club / Gardena - Gröden
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Kriechmayr wins the first downhill in Val Gardena/Gröden


The first of two downhill races of the 55th Saslong Classic has ended with a victory for an Austrian. In a race that was characterized by extremely close margins, Vincent Kriechmayr prevailed.

Kriechmayr showed a flawless run on a shortened course and snatched the first place with a time of 1:25.44 minutes. This was the second time the 31-year-old had climbed to the top of the podium at the foot of Sassolungo/Langkofel: in 2019, Kriechmayr won the super-G in Val Gardena/Gröden - now, for the first time, he clawed his way to victory in the "supreme discipline." Overall, it was the sixth downhill triumph in the career of the Austrian.

Marco Odermatt from Switzerland came in second, just behind Kriechmayr. The overall World Cup leader missed the day's victory by just eleven hundredths in his first downhill start on the Saslong. Matthias Mayer, another speed ace from the Austrian team, completed the podium. The three-time Olympic champion was 13 hundredths behind his teammate at the finish.

Top favorite Kilde finishes fifth.

While veteran Johan Clarey from France only missed the top three by a hair's breadth in fourth, top favorite Aleksander Aamodt Kilde finished in fifth place. The Norwegian thus successfully defended his lead in the World Cup discipline.

A look at the results list shows how close the distances were in Thursday's downhill: The first ten skiers were separated by only half a second - with a gap of one second bringing in only one World Cup point.

Schieder makes his mark.

From the Italian point of view, Florian Schieder, a racer from South Tyrol, was particularly convincing. The local hero from Kastelruth, who started the race with the high bib 55, showed a courageous drive and finished in a solid 13th place. This is Schieder's best result so far in his career.

For the rest of the "Azzurri" the first of the two downhill races was disappointing. In addition to veteran Christof Innerhofer (23rd), only Guglielmo Bosca finished in the points zone in 25th place. Training runner-up Mattia Casse (34th), powerhouse Dominik Paris (40th), Mattia Marsaglia (51st), Nicolò Molteni (53rd) and Federico Simoni (54th) had to settle for a place beyond the top 30.

Friday's program in Val Gardena/Gröden continues with the super-G, the second of three speed events. The race will start at 11:45 a.m.