Dave Ryding Starts His Season with Mixed Results

The British number one produced a solid performance to make the top 10 in his first World Cup outing of the 2020-21 season in Italy on Monday. He was unable to match that in race two on Tuesday, finishing just outside the top 20.

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LATEST: Madonna di Campiglio, Italy, Tuesday 22nd December

With temperatures as high as 3 degrees Celsius, it was more like spring than winter for the second World Cup slalom of the season and the second in as many days.

The early starters had the best of the snow conditions.

Ryding was the ninth skier out of the gates for the first run.

He was chasing the time of the Norwegian, Sebastian Foss-Solevaag, who had taken full advantage of being the second racer on the course to take the lead.

By the time all the top seeded racers had completed run one, the British number one was lying in joint 13th, 1.32 seconds behind the Norwegian leader.

It would need a second-run charge to match or improve on his 10th place in the first World Cup of the season in Alta Badia on Monday.

It wasn’t to be.

He finished 21st.

The top 3 were:

  1. Henrik Kristoffersen (Norway)
  2. Sebastian Foss-Solevaag (Norway)
  3. Alex Vinatzer (Italy

There were two other Britons competing.

Laurie Taylor was 41st and, after failing to finish in his debut World Cup on Monday, Billy Major successfully negotiated the gates to finish 48th.

Alta Badia, Italy, Monday 21st December

The Rocket has had a long wait for his first World Cup slalom action of the winter and now he has two races in as many days.

Usually, the season opener for the technical skiers is a Levi in Finland in November.

It fell victim to changes in the schedule caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Ryding had a couple of warm-up races last week, competing in the Europa Cup at Pozza di Fassa.

He failed to finish in one of them but just missed the podium in the other, finishing 4th.

As Ryding himself said on social media he “had about 3 inches of rust and an inch of dust to blow off” after such a long wait for a return to racing.

But the first real test of his form against the the rest of the world’s best came on Monday in Alta Badia in the Italian Dolomites.

And he didn’t disappoint, looking strong and finishing just in the top 10.

Ryding’s result follows on from huge success for Britain in cross-country, with Andrew Young getting a World Cup silver medal to go with his recent bronze.

It’s a much better start for Ryding than last season when he had to wait until his fourth race to get inside the top 10.

He failed to finish the second run at the opener in Levi in 2019 and was then 17th in Val d’Isere and 18th in Zagreb before a 7th place in Madonna di Campiglio in January 2020.

The 34-year-old Brit was ninth after the first run in Alta Badia today, dropping just one place as the Top 30 skiers went again in run 2.

It was all change at the top, with none of the racers occupying the podium positions after run 1 getting in the medals.

Alex Vinatzer (Italy), who had been leading, finished 4th.  Daniel Yule (Switzerland) dropped from 2nd to 7th and Michael Matt (Austria) dropped from 3rd to 15th.

The top 3 were:

  1. Ramon Zenhaeusern (Switzerland) – 8th after first run
  2. Manuel Feller (Austria) – 13th after first run
  3. Marco Schwarz (Austria) – 10th after first run

Great Britain had two other racers at Alta Badia.

Laurie Taylor finished 50th while Billy Major was unable to finish in his World Cup debut.

There’s no time for rest.

The next World Cup slalom is on Tuesday evening, also in the Italian Dolomites.

“And we’re off… nice to get the World Cup season underway! Squeezed it into the top 10, more than happy to start with a 10th,” Ryding said on Facebook after Alta Badia.

“Straight into Madonna di Campiglio tomorrow night see you on the box!

“Fun fact; Alta Badia was actually my very first World Cup.. straddled the 3rd gate… happy to know I have become wiser 11 years later!”

Ryding has enjoyed good results at Madonna in recent years.

As well as last season’s 7th place, he was 4th the previous year and 6th the year before that.

Fingers crossed for another result in single figures – maybe even a podium?

It’s a race under the lights.

The first run is scheduled at 1645 GMT and the second at 1945 GMT.

Dave Ryding’s Best World Cup Results To Date

2nd- World Cup Slalom, Kitzbühel, Austria, 2017
2nd- World Cup City Event, Oslo, Norway, 2019

If you’ve got this far, you will love you ski racing.

So why not take a look at the Ski Racing Podcast as former GB alpine racer Ed Drake and Tord Nilson look back on a massive weekend of racing in the speed events for both the women and the men.


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