Last year's runner-up opens the downhill
On Wednesday evening, at the Team Captains' meeting in Selva/Wolkenstein, the bib numbers for the first of the two downhill races on the Saslong were announced.
At noon tomorrow, Otmar Striedinger from Austria will be the first racer to leave the start house from the super-G start at 2,010 meters. The 31-year-old from Villach is expected to set the first benchmark on the shortened course, as he was the runner-up on the podium in the last downhill in Val Gardena/Gröden last year. Of note, then Striedinger also opened the race with bib number 1.
While the two local heroes Christof Innerhofer and Dominik Paris will race down to the valley in their home race with bib numbers 4 and 6 respectively, top favorite Aleksander Aamodt Kilde will take his turn as the seventh racer. Right behind the Norwegian, Austria's Matthias Mayer (No. 8) and Switzerland's Beat Feuz (No. 9) are two more strong contenders in the fight for the day's victory.
The leader of the overall World Cup standings, Marco Odermatt (Switzerland), will tackle his first downhill on the Saslong with bib number 12. This means the all-rounder will take to the slopes immediately after his compatriot Niels Hintermann - who finished third in the downhill last year.
Last year's winner Bryce Bennett from the USA has, will race with bib 17. Alongside him, the performances of his teammates Travis Ganong (No. 6) and Ryan Cochran-Siegle (No. 16) will be particularly exciting.
The fastest racers of the only training run follow with bibs outside the top 30: Mattia Casse from Italy, second in training, has the number 31, Nils Allegre from France - fastest in training - has the high number 51. The third and last South Tyrolean to compete in the downhill on Thursday is Florian Schieder from Kastelruth. He will take his turn as the 55th runner.
A total of 67 athletes will start in the first of three speed events on the Saslong. The complete starting list for the downhill is available here.